Friday, June 25, 2010

summer slacking

I just realized this morning that I only have 5 weeks left until I have to start training for the Nike Women's Marathon, and I have been SLACKING. I don't remember the last time I went out for a long run. In fact, if I weren't doing boot camp, I would probably not be doing anything at all.  Not a good way to maintain my fitness between races!I really thought that the summer was going to be easier for training; instead, I think the winter might be easier, since there is not a lot going on. I am so much busier in the summer months, and there are softball games to watch, barbecues to go to and cocktails to drink. It all makes for a summer full of fun and not much else. an attempt to scare myself back into exercising, I put together my training plan for Nike.

I am using Hal Higdon's Boston plan for this go around. His marathon plan for novices turned out to be great, but I really want to knock this marathon on its butt, so I'm picking the intensity level up a bit this time. Here is my game plan:

A couple of big differences this go around is that I have a day for a sprint workout, which I did not do last time. I also have two days for weights/strength training.  Mileage-wise, it is about the same, though. It will be interesting to see if the strength training helps keep my legs stronger. I also wonder about the sprints. I do love me a sprint workout, and in boot camp we do them a lot (which is good). I am not a fast sprinter, but I have firsthand experience of how they can shave those mile times. Anything that takes minutes off my time is good for me!

I was invited by a couple of my buddies to run a 13 mile run tomorrow, but I just got invited to two cocktail parties for tonight. What to do? I think maybe I will just really live these last 5 weeks up, then get serious. After's summer, right?

Monday, June 21, 2010

pr all the way, baby

Okay, so it has been a horribly hectic ten days or so, so I apologize for not blogging. I literally couldn't get a minute to write anything! You know those people who never seem to return an email? I became one of them last week. I have always wondered what the heck they were all so busy doing. I am busy, too, but always seem to have time to pop a quick email off to someone. Last week, though...not so much. I am looking forward to a less hectic week this week (yeah, right).

On Saturday I ran in the Teapot Days 5k race. We went to spend the weekend with my in-laws, and their town has a huge festival every year, complete with road race. I haven't run a 5k since last September, and I really wanted to get one in before I start back to marathon training for Nike in October. This was perfect. It was a fast and flat race, and I PR'ed in 22:45. I think my fastest time prior to this was like 25:30 or something, so I really blew the doors off my previous time. I think I can get that time down even further, though, so I am going to shoot for another 5k next month that I will actually train for, and try to finish in 20 minutes or so. 

Now that I have run a marathon, my perspective on distance has been forever altered. I really looked at this race as a sprint, which, as my husband told me this weekend (several times), is crazy, since it is still 3.1 miles. Who wants to run a 3.1 mile sprint? But that is really what it is. When you run a marathon, you have lots of time and distance, so you have to pace yourself to stay consistent throughout the run. It's a lot the same in a half marathon. Pace, pace, pace. But a have to go out fast and stay fast, because it's over in a flash.

I am not sure yet if this new philosophy on running is a good thing or not. I certainly don't want to become one of those people who don't think I got a workout in if I ran less than 8 miles. There is a lot of benefit in being able to run the shorter runs quickly. Hopefully I can find a nice balance between the two races.

Friday, June 11, 2010

kid free friday

Last night and this morning I experienced what life is like without children. I packed the kids up after work and took them to Grandma and Grandpa's to spend the night (yay), and then met some girlfriends I never get to see for dinner. It was so fun catching up! Then I headed home, since I had boot camp at 6 the next morning.

I got up today, went to boot camp (which, by the way, has increased in difficulty quite a bit. We did so many squats and lunges today that I may not be able to sit down tomorrow), and came home to get ready for my day. Okay, people without kids, you have such a relaxing life! For the first time in I don't know how long, I was able to drink an entire cup of coffee at one sitting. Amazing. Also, I was the only person in the bathroom while I was getting ready this morning. I didn't have to chase my son around the house to retrieve my eyeliner, or stop a blowdryer gun fight between my boys. I just got ready. Fabulous.

Although I miss the little guys, it has been a nice little break.  Tomorrow morning I meet a buddy for a sprint workout, then I am headed to east bank yoga studio for a private class for me and a few of my friends. I am really excited about having a professional check my form and breathing since my last bout with yoga. I do love yoga; I just want to make sure I am doing it correctly.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

correction: some fuss fit camp

I have to amend my previous post regarding the upcoming fit camp. Before it started, we received an email that sounded like it was going to be a really rough session. Monday was our first session, and overwhelmingly, the regular attendees were a little disappointed.

Now, don't get me wrong. There were some aspects of it that were quite challenging. Overall, though, we all feel we have been challenged more in the past. Basically, the class began at 6am with a short  (300-400meter) lap, then some light stretching exercises. I can't say too much here, because I was ten minutes late. My son caught strep throat, and so I was up with him all night and he didn't want me to leave. It is amazing what a cup of juice and the Monsters vs. Aliens can do for a kid. He was fine for me to leave after that (with his Dad watching him, of course.  No social services calls, please).

After warming up, we broke into smaller groups of 4-5 people and did a circuit of four stations. The first was a sprint station, where our partners and us would take turns sprinting between two sets of cones for one minute, then rest for one minute. The cones were not that far apart, and the rest minutes, coupled with the taking turns thing made it ineffective for me.  We did this four times.

The next station involved throwing medicine balls back and forth with our partners for one minute and one minute of rest. Again, I would have eliminated the minute of rest between sets, as it amounted to not a lot of work.

Station #3 was difficult, I must say. We all lined up on a beam and did running step-ups for one minute, followed by a minute of rest.  I would not change anything here. This was difficult.

Finally, we made it to the ab station, where we did a series of abdominal exercises that worked all of the muscle groups. I wouldn't change anything here, either. I don't think abs ever get easier. I don't care how many ab exercises I do, it still hurts to work my abs. I guess that's why I need somebody to tell me to do them. 

Tomorrow is the second session, and I think I will go at 5:30 and get in a 3-4 mile run before it starts. That way I feel like I am getting a good cardio workout in, as well as a total body workout. One very cool thing about this boot camp is that there are quite a few people who are just getting back into fitness. I think this is a great way for them to jump-start themselves into a healthy lifestyle. I really admire people who have made a renewed commitment to getting healthy. I remember very well from when I started that it is awful getting into shape. Once you are in shape it is easy to maintain it...but getting there is a really difficult and painful road. I am sure that because there are so many varying levels of fitness in the camp, it is tough to make sure everyone is getting an adequate workout. I would much rather have the camp be a rewarding challenge for the newcomers, and I hope it starts a life of healthy living for them and their families!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

a no-fuss fit camp

From time to time I like to sign up for boot camps. Although I don't love to do them all year round, I find that they are usually a great way for me to jump-start myself into better fitness routines. For example, my last  boot camp was in January, just at the time of year when I usually go dormant. Not only did it keep me fit through the unbearably cold Midwest winter months...I was motivated enough to stay afterwards and log miles on the track, or even brave the cold and run outside. Because of boot camp, I kept my fitness level up enough to run a Spring marathon; not an easy feat if you live smack in the middle of the plains.

Usually the instructor for our classes is Barb, and she is great. Don't get me wrong....Barb will kick your butt; but she is a really gentle soul, and so getting together is fun, and it feels like we are all "in it together," as she works out right along side of us. Alas, Barb has had some back problems, and so the summer Fitcamp is being taught by someone new.

Since the class starts Monday, we received an email from our new coach introducing himself and giving some details of the class.  I saw the email come in, read it, and started trembling.  I think this is going to be a serious fit camp.  First of all, the guy is a former college football player...his assistant is a former college basketball player, and both are certified personal trainers.  Please see below for a small excerpt of the email that I received this morning:

This is a very intense class, in order to get everything done in the time and space we have, I would appreciate it if you pushed yourself as hard as you can through sprints, ladders, running, plyometrics, and any other stations that will enhance your fitness level! We do not know how much weight you are capable of lifting or your endurance when it comes to running, but challenge yourselves to get better each week! One last reminder, the class does start at 6:00am at Barstow Park, unless rain or lightening, we will be in the Dome. We would appreciate it if you show up 5 minutes early rather than right at 6:00 am that way you are not taking time away from others who want to be dedicated to their workout.

Yep...this guy is no joke. I'm a little scared about showing up on Monday, and am half tempted to email him and remind him that his participants are all women in their 30's and 40's with children!  Somehow, though, I don't think he would care. 

I better look great at the pool after this, that's all I have to say. Bring it boy.  Bring it on.

the mama's way to shave those mile times...

After my youngest son was born, I decided that I would start running again. Since I had two babies that I had to take care of and I didn't want that to be an excuse for me to not run, my husband and I decided that we would spend $550 on a Bob Revolution Dualie Stroller. It was spendy and a tough decision, but in the end it was probably one of the best baby purchases we have made to date. The stroller has large wheels, so running with it is an absolute breeze. That first summer, the boys and I just ran all over town. I would figure out my runs so that we would finish at the park so I could feed Austin and Aidan could play on the slide or swing. It was great. I also think it helped kick-start me into fitness, as the stroller with both of the boys weighed about 60 pounds. Once I started running without the stroller, my mile times really improved. I loved the Bob Duallie!

Now, fast forward two years.  The stroller weighs the same, but each of my boys is now about 30 pounds. That makes my stroller, with both boys inside, 95 pounds! And just so you get an accurate picture of how heavy this is...I weight about 120 pounds. OMG that is one tough run! The unfortunate thing (for me) is that the boys love going running in the stroller. And, why shouldn't they? They have done it for the last two years now. That is kind of our thing; we even have a usual running path and landmarks that we look for, like the snail mailbox and the big rock. The boys sit and visit with me the whole time, and it's really just good, quality time for us.

I fear, however, that my days of running with the boys is almost at an end. After running 3.5 miles pushing them last night, my back is horribly stiff. Where it used to be so easy to turn the corners and steer with one hand, now that I have 95 pounds in front of me, we don't corner on quite the rail we used to, and my poor, little wrist can't handle balancing all of that weight. I don't know how I'm going to break it to them. I will just have to get up early and get my runs out of the way before they get up.  Or, maybe the stroller should meet with an unfortunate accident. At any rate...I bet I shaved some seconds off my mile times last night.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

yoga isn't for wussies

Gotta love those holiday weekends! I had a great time taking my kids to the pool and getting tons of chores done around the house, you know, the extra kind that you never seem to have time for during the week? I always feel so great when those things get done.

Also, as you know, I have been doing lots more yoga lately.  I am using my DVD from Shiva Rea, and since I have been on the beginner level for awhile and feel like it is pretty easy, I decided to step it up a notch and try some of the intermediate stuff.  I had no idea what I was in for.

This is, of course, NOT a picture of me doing this pose, but this is what the intermediate level required.  It was truly the most difficult workout I have ever attempted (and remember...I ran a marathon), and my body is still sore in places I didn't know had muscles.  I am absolutely certain that I looked like a total idiot trying to get this pose together. I finally had to stop the video after awhile, because I just couldn't keep up with Shiva Rea! She makes getting into and out of each pose so graceful and easy. I look like I have just ingested nerve gas, and my feet made loud thuds the entire time. My husband kept coming in to check on me, just to make sure I hadn't broken something (which, halfway through the workout, I kind of wished I had).

I think that trying to do poses like this without any professional form help is potentially dangerous, so I think it's time I took a yoga class or two.  That way somebody can check my form and make sure I am doing things properly. Shiva Rea is convenient, but she won't call 911 if I break my leg doing a firefly pose!