Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Official, I'm Crazy

The alarm went off at 5am and I was out of bed not too long after.  While I was getting dressed in the near-dark, quiet house I felt a little nutty.  A lot of times when you tell people you're training for this or that the response is, "you're crazy".  This is the first time I actually felt they might be right.  Getting up to run before dawn in the freezing cold felt a little crazy indeed.  But with our schedule today it was my only option.

I wore a long-sleeve running shirt with a North Face polartec fleece over that and the matching North Face pants.  I also wore gloves and a wide headband that covered my ears.  I carried my phone and a gel pack in a Spibelt.  I ate a 1/2 bowl of cereal and a few bites of a banana.  Just before 6am I was out the door.  It wasn't quite as cold I was expecting it to be, which was nice.  I did a 4 minute warm-up walk and then started running.

The most amazing thing ever was the lunar eclipse.  I'd sort of forgotten about it but then I look up and I see this giant moon in shadow with a glimmer of sunlight still hitting it from the side. Wow.  I got to stare at that moon a lot during the first half of my run and I couldn't believe my good luck.  There were hardly any cars out at that hour.  I ran some on the sidewalk but mostly in the bike lane because the up/down of driveways is irritating.  And I've read the asphalt gives a fraction and the concrete doesn't give at all. 

I questioned my ability along the way.  Longest run prior to this was 4 miles so I was really upping things with 7.  But my body just kept going and I felt ok.  At about the 3 mile mark started to lighten a bit, which was nice.  By the time I got to the turn around point it was full on dawn - and I was very happy to start running toward my home instead of away from it. I looked at my watch and had been running for 47 minutes.  Eek, that seems *really* slow for 3.5 miles.  I vowed to pick up the pace on the return trip.  I managed to open, eat and dispose of my AccelGel all without stopping.  I really wanted a bit of water but I didn't want to take the extra few minutes to run into the gas station to get it so I did without.  I guess I'll be needing to figure out the water issue as the runs get longer.

On the way home my hips were aching a little bit.  My calves continued with the tight, pre-cramp feeling but nothing ever came of that, thank goodness.  Would compression pants help?  I had a lot of thoughts about running longer than 7 will I do it?  But as I got closer and closer to home I felt better and better. I'll just do it one week at a time. It got *really* cold during the last 1/2 mile and I looked down and noticed a fine mist had formed on my clothes.

When I got to the stopping point I took a big breath of relief and quietly congratulated myself for making it happen.  I looked at my watch, 1 hour and 34 minutes.  I was hoping for an even hour and a half but this was close enough and I was happy.  I etched a smiley face in my fleece and snapped a picture to mark the occasion.  Whew!  Hopefully that will be my last pre-dawn run but if not, at least I know it won't kill me.  Next Saturday is 8 miles.

I got home and did some stretching and then got ready to go with the family to my mother's club holiday party.  It's not even 8am yet!  The party was fun, the kids had a blast and I told everyone within earshot that I ran 7 miles this morning.  After the party we were all pooped and headed home for naps.  I'm going to try and take a nap of my own as soon as I finish writing this.  Miguel is gone to a soccer-watching party and won't be back until the kids' bedtime. And then I'm headed to a friend's house to babysit (while her kid sleeps) so they can have a date night (I participate in a date night swap thing - so cool).  Where's my vitamin B?  Something tells me I'm going to need it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Endorphines are on the House!

Good morning athletes!  I had a fabulous workout yesterday, can you tell?  I didn't mention this in my last post but during yesterday's employee wellness coaching session (I got a new one, her name is also Michelle) we talked about training for the half marathon.  I told her I'd like to first, be able to run the whole time and second, in an ideal world, be able to maintain a 12-minute mile pace.  She suggested that I do some inclines on the treadmill to build up strength.  She said to go at a steady, slightly easy pace and increase the incline by .5 every minute (without changing speed) until I can't take it anymore and then drop it back down for a minute break - then start "up" again.

I decided that since yesterday was a short run, 3 miles, I'd give it a try.  My calves, especially my right one, felt like it was on the verge of cramping up off-and-on throughout the day.  I was worried I wouldn't  be able to run but gave it a try anyway.  I did a 3-minute warmup walk and then started running at 4.8mph with a 1° incline.  This is what my run looked like:

1-3/1° (walking)
3-4/1.5° at 4.8mph
9-10/4.5°  *Michelle said to keep going up until my heart rate neared max (179) but my legs gave out long before that happened
10-13/1°  *I needed more than a 1-minute recovery so I took 3 and then started climbing
19-20/4.5°  *Whew!  I knew I didn't have another cycle of inclines in me so I decided to do speed intervals until I got to three miles
20-23/1°at 4.8mph
23-36/1° at 4.8, 5.0 & 6.0mph, rotating every minute

It was perfect!  A real challenge, I was really pushing myself.  And what I really love is in the end I averaged a 12-minute mile.  I did a three minute cool-down walk and got off that treadmill feeling like I killed it!  Oh, and I was also feeling like it sure would be nice to drop a few pounds before the half.   I won't talk specifics since I don't like weight-loss deadlines but even just a few pounds would make things that much easier.  Let's hope that motivates me in the food-to-mouth department.

After the treadmill I did chest/triceps and core work.  I started with pushups and I am pleased they are getting a little easier.  I do my three on the ground and then do the five modified ones and I'm no longer grunting like Serena Williams during my third set.  In less exciting news my back is still a bit sore so I was nervous about doing some of my new ab stuff.  It feels like the new moves put a bit more strain on my lower back but everything seemed to go fine while I was exercising so I just went with it.  We'll see if I live to regret it today.

Speaking of today - I have a planned day off from the gym.  But I'm sort of considering, if it works, doing my long run today so I don't have to get up at 6:30am on Saturday to do it.  I'll have to talk to Miguel and see how supportive he's feeling.  If he's up for it I might go after work.  I sure hope I can keep this training up with two little kids through the winter.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dashing Past the Cookies

My mother's club had a "cookie exchange" board meeting last night.  Our board meetings are always fun and festive but this one was especially so with wine, food and tables covered with yummy cookies.  I ate a 1/2 slice of Papa Murphy's chicken garlic pizza before leaving home.  I looked up the NI and I think my 1/2 slice was probably about 250 calories.

I went to the party and had a couple/few small glasses of cab (wine) and some food, though not much.  After the business part of the meeting was over we exchanged cookies and I went around picking out what looked good to me.  I should have picked out ones that did not appeal to my taste but I wasn't that clever.  I ate a one on the way home and another tiny one when I got home.  Then I promptly wrapped them up in saran and put them to bed for the night and felt okay about my cookie consumption.  I meant to send them to work with Miguel this morning but forgot.  I will have to take them to a potluck at work tomorrow.  In the meantime I'll be flexing that willpower muscle to resist them.  Ahh, the holidays.  Good thing we're not going to a ton of parties.

Today is a gym day - I'll  be going after work.  I have a 3 mile run on the agenda, along with strength training, core work and stretching.  I talked to my employee wellness personal coach this morning and she suggested  I do some inclines on the treadmill in preparation for my half marathon.  I think I'll give that a try today if I don't run outside.

So, while I was on the Papa Murphy's site looking up nutritional info I saw this:

It's bigger than your appetite?!  That's not a good message when it comes to eating healthy.  Then again - it's pizza.  Not exactly healthy fare in general.  Though I did learn they have a "lite" crust?  I'll have to try that next time - just not in the 5 meat variety!

Oh, and yes, tomorrow morning is weigh-in.  I'm feeling like I've maintained but we'll have to see. Sometimes the way I feel is wholly disconnected from what the scale has to say.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Answer is Tea

I have been drinking tea in the evenings after dinner and it is like a miracle cure for the munchies!  I used to drink it pre-kids and sort of forgot about it.  Cherelli reminded me about tea when I had my food meltdown last week and it has really helped.  When I start to feel munchy I get up and make some tea and that solves everything.  It both gives me something to ingest, is also relaxing, and the calorie cost is zero! I want to stock up on more sweet tasting teas like apple/cranberry.  No caffeine of course.

Things continue to go well on the exercise front.  I was sore yesterday from all the lunges and squats but I didn't let that stop me from going to boot camp at 5:30 this morning.  This morning mostly my glutes were sore.  Fortunately it was a cardio/abs day so I wasn't put through too much torture.  I took some ibuprofen and ate a 1/2 of banana before I left just to help with the soreness.  My lower back is still a bit sore too.

I talked to the boot camp trainer about lunges and squats on the smith machine.  He didn't see any advantage to using the machine so I might go back to doing them on my own.  The back of my neck is sore from the bar (even with the pad) and I think I was leaning on the bar more than lifting it.  Ideas, ideas.  We'll see.

Tomorrow is a 3 mile run and strength training and Saturday is that 7 mile run.  Eek!  Saturday is a busy day, we have a holiday party in the early afternoon and Miguel wants the afternoon "off" to watch a soccer game.  So it's either a morning or an evening run.  Another game day decision.

Hope you are doing well, keeping your body moving and the stress down as we cruise through the holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

13.1 - Here I Come!

Another busy weekend that's rolling right into a busy week!  This past weekend was my 41st birthday so I had a lot of fun (and food).  On Friday evening a friend came over for dinner.  It was a totally relaxed affair and it was nice catching up despite the kiddie chaos around us.  We ate pretty healthy too, which was good.  On Saturday I took the kids to playgroup and Miguel went mountain biking.  He's been getting back into that lately.  That evening I went out to dinner in The Big City with my jail girls, as I call them (we all used to work in SF jail together).  We went to cocktails and then Umami burger.  Yummmmmy!  I had a vodka soda, a burger, tons of fries/onion rings, tons of various dips, a pint o' beer, and a cupcake.

On Sunday we went to get our Christmas tree.  What fun!  I felt like I was in a movie or something.  We picked out a fine specimen and took it home. I went to the gym while the kiddos were napping and got in a good bike ride before hitting the weights to do back/biceps/core work.  A bit of stretching and I was out the door.  That evening Miguel and I went out to dinner to celebrate the big 4-1.  I had beef carpaccio, a glass of wine, and linguine with clams.  We shared a creme brulee for desert.  Perfect day.

Yesterday (Monday) I hit the gym for my first legs workout since getting my new routine from Ian.  I didn't have enough time to do my full 32 minute run so I did 21 minutes quickly.  I did a 3 minute warmup walk and then I did one-minute rotations of 6mph, 5mph, 4.5mph.  That means I ran 6mph for 1 minute seven times!  I can't believe how much the feeling of running at 6mph has changed since the first time I did it.  It still feels fast but no longer crazy-fast.  So glad I pushed myself to try it the first time. 

After the run I did legs/shoulders/core work.  I did the new legs stuff - lunges/squats on the smith machine (no weights other than the bar), squats w/shoulder presses, etc.  It was VERY hard.  I still don't know if I'm going to keep these as part of my routine.  You know I'm not into suffering.  I left feeling good that I conquered them as I had to really push myself just to get through each set.  My legs are sore as heck today and my back is a bit sore - which is concerning and another reason I might not keep these.  We'll see, I probably just need to get stronger so my back doesn't have to work as hard.  The smith machine just doesn't feel natural though, which I don't like, I'd rather do things without machines if possible.

So today is a day off from exercise and then back at it tomorrow (bootcamp) through Friday.  Ok...onto the BIG news.

Dun, da, daaaaaa...I registered for a half-marathon!  A friend emailed me that she's doing it and is looking for training partners.  And my running pace isn't too slow for her - bonus!  So I figured, hey, why not?  If I have to do a run/walk that's okay too.  It's the Kaiser half-marathon in San Francisco and it is in 8 weeks!  I found a training plan, Hal Higdon's (Novice 2) 12 week plan, and I'm going to modify it to fit my life.  I'm going to drop one of the running days altogether (the short run) and do bootcamp instead.  Long runs are on the weekends, which are perfect.  Oh, and I have to start on Week 4 since I don't have 12 weeks to train.  That means I have to do a 7 mile run this Saturday.  Eek!  Guess who's getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday?  I sure hope it's warmer than it was this morning.

So my new plan looks like this with 3 runs/1 bike, 3 strength training, 1 bootcamp, 2 rest days.  Looks good on paper, we'll see how it goes in real life!  This week will be different because I just worked out this new plan today.

Sun:  bike/strength training
Mon:  Rest
Tue: Run/strength training
Wed:  Bootcamp
Thur:  Run/strength training
Fri:  Day off
Sat:  Long run