Friday, April 23, 2010

Just keeping Pace.

I've been horribly lax about updating this week. Maybe because, after my spectacular victory over the Prospect Park loop on Monday, I've been kinda lax about exercising too.

I took a rest day on Tuesday to let my legs heal up from Monday's run. Wednesday we hit the gym, and I ran 3 miles on the treadmill, wearing my Nike+ SportBand to calibrate it. I also did a couple of weight machines, I'm trying to ease myself back into weight training. My wrist held up fine, so I think I've got the green light for next time I'm in the gym.

Lazy butt that I am, I took another rest day yesterday. Today I'm planning on doing a workout video, but no running.

We're leaving for Maine tomorrow. Me and the S.O. are heading up to spend a week with some close friends to help watch their kids while they have their third. The entirety of my exercise while I'm up there will consist of running around after kids, playing with kids, and (I hope) squeezing in a run here and there. I'll try to update while we're up there, but please forgive me if I'm a little absent.

I'm getting close to "Race Day" now, only a little over four weeks. I'm starting to get nervous/excited...what did MizFit call it? Nervicitment?

Monday, April 19, 2010

MS walk and conquering the Prospect Park loop.

This past Sunday was the NYC MS Awareness walk. Me and my S.O. decided to go for it and do the six mile loop, which crosses over the Brooklyn Bridge a couple times. The weather was perfect, cool and sunny. The walk didn't seem nearly as long as six miles should, until we sat down for some food and coffee afterward. Then the combination of lack of sleep (we got to bed really late Saturday night, and the walk started at 9am) and the walking caught up to us. We managed to get home (barely) before taking an awesome two hour nap.

Today I tackled the Prospect Park loop again. This time, I learned from experience and started my run at the bottom of the Hill-o-Doom (now it's official name as far as I'm concerned.)

I was a little concerned starting out, as my legs hadn't had a ton of time to rest since our little six mile stroll on Sunday. Furthering my dismay as I started up the Hill-o-Doom, a couple jogged past me on my way up. The guy was walking intermittently to keep pace with his girlfriend (or wife or whatever.) Walking. I was getting passed by a guy who was walking! Somehow this tripped the competitive side of me, and I would now refuse to give up. I dug in, and kept relative pace with them, refusing to let them get far enough ahead of me for me to loose sight of the Woman's pink running top.

By the top of the hill, they were a good distance out in front of me, and I dismally admitted to myself that I was going to have to let it go, and just focus on my own run. So I did. I just let myself enjoy how beautiful the park looked as the trees were flowering and just starting to get leaves. It was intermittently sunny, which Illuminated the new leaves on the trees.

I was so deep into just enjoying my run, that I barely noticed until I was right on top of them that I had caught up to the running couple. Now this woman in pink, she has her own competitive spirit. I know this because as I started to pass them, she sped up. Way up. She pushed herself to keep pace right beside me for a while (almost a 1/4 mile) before falling behind me.

The longest stretch of the run for me is after you turn the corner around the back side of the lake. Both times I've run this loop I've hit stiff headwinds in this stretch. It's also the last mile (and a bit) of the run, which always to me feels way longer than the first two miles.

I was once again just pushing through it, starting to really feel the lead in my legs when the couple passed me again. They were flying! I tried to push myself a bit faster to pass them again, but could just barely keep pace with them as the sped on. Not too long after we reached the spray painted marker on the pavement that reads "5k Finish!" My unknowing competition stopped at the marker obviously excited about having finished their run. I'm guessing they started at the "5k Start!" mark a little up the road and had just run a full 5k. They had been sprinting for their finish line when they passed me.

I continued on, pushing myself the last little bit to my own finish line, a wooden bench next to a sign advertising an upcoming run in the park. It was where I started running, at the bottom of the Hill-o-Doom. When I stopped running, and proceeded to walk the rest of the way back up the Hill-o-Doom and to the entrance of the park I sent a text to my S.O. "12:40 - 1:16 no walking".

When I got home and put all my stats into MapmyRun, I realized that I had done two amazing things. Not only had I conquered the loop, and the Hill-o-Doom, running the entire 3.35 miles without stopping to walk, but I had also done it faster. I averaged a pace of 10:43, or 5.58 Mph.

So thank you, Woman in the Pink shirt and her running buddy, the unspoken competition help me push myself harder.

And to the Hill-o-Doom: Nya nya nya. I win.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beautiful weather requires random walks.

Oh wow guys! Guess what! I won a contest over at Shut Up and Run! (which is a really cool blog btw, go check it out!) What's even cooler is what I won. Running Gear! *happy dance* Soon I will be the owner of an actual bonafied running tank and a certified real running skirt! In short order I will be receiving a GoLite Cottonwood Run Tank and a GoLite Tilly Jane Run Skirt in the mail. You have no comprehension of how excited I am about this ^_^ As soon as they arrive I will force my S.O. to get pictures of me actually running in actual running clothes!

Ok, now that I got that excitement out, yesterday's workout was a crunch video I've been doing for a while that has some "standing Pilates" Cardio stuff followed by some regular Pilates mat work. I've been doing it for a while to get my sufficient amount of "omg my abs are killing me when is this over" ab work in, and the Cardio portion was decent at keeping my heart rate up. Yesterday, however, while the ab work still seemed decently intense, the Cardio section just wasn't doing it for me. I think my body's acclimated to the moves...time to switch up the videos >.<

After going out to meet my S.O. for a "picnic" lunch sitting in Battery Park, I decided it was too nice out to get back on the subway, so I started walking north along Broadway. I walked myself all the way up to Union Square (which is about a 2.5 mile walk) and was delighted to find that the Union Square Green Market was in full swing. I've been trying to get to the green market for a while now to pick up some herb and veggie plants to grow in my window. Yes, I'm growing a small garden in hanging planters in my window. Because I can. ^_^

Today I'm back to the gym this afternoon for a treadmill run. Kinda nervous to see how my legs are doing after Monday's run.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A recovery workout and more patience.

Yesterday's workout was mostly a recovery workout. 30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical machine, followed by a brief attempt to resume weight training. My wrist started to ache halfway through my first machine, so after finishing out the set, I called it.

I'm trying very hard to be patient with my wrist. But if it doesn't shape up in the next week I'm going to get very angry.

I was surprisingly not sore from Monday's run. I could tell my legs were a little tired, and I know that trying to run would have been a bad idea, but I felt fine on the elliptical.

Today will be a workout video day, and maybe some yoga. I'm back to running (and a little nervous about it) tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

First outdoor run of the season. Headwinds and Hills!

Yesterday I determined that I would run outside for the first time this season. I suited up with my new Nike Women's Elite Running Cushioned socks, my awesome running pants, my Favorite running top, and a long sleeve zip up sweatshirt with zip pockets for the essentials (keys, metro card, id.) I grabbed sun glasses and my arm band for my iphone, and headed out the door.

The half hour trip to Prospect Park was spent with me trying to look nonchalant while I tried to ignore the fact that I stood out like a sore thumb in a train full of people various styles of Jeans and T-shirts. I know it wasn't true but it felt like everyone I passed gave me that "what the hell?!" look.

I used the 10 minute walk up to the park from the train station as my warm up, power walking and getting limber. I was so nervous about the run that I almost turned around and went home about six times during that walk.

When I finally got to the park, I was warm enough to take off the sweatshirt and tie it around my waist. There was a gentle wind blowing and the sun was shining. A few people zoomed by on bikes, and there were flowering trees everywhere.

I started my run on a tick mark that had been spray painted onto the pavement at some time long ago that read 3m. I had (mistakenly but we'll get to that later) read somewhere that the loop was a little over three miles, so I figured it would be a good marker to stop at too. I had also heard that there was a beast of a hill somewhere in the loop, but had no idea where it was, so I started out with an easy pace.

It was hard to keep myself to that nice slow pace over the next 1/2 mile, which was mostly downhill, with a few flat stretches. I had no idea how far I'd run or how far I'd yet to go, but around 20 minutes in I was still feeling relatively fresh.

Then, rounding the backside of the lake, I encountered something I had never dealt with before, a strong headwind. It hit me so suddenly and with such force that it almost stopped me in my tracks. I had read in Runner's World that you shouldn't fight the headwind, just slow down and conserve your energy for when it's not an issue. So I dug in, slowed down a bit, and fought on.

By the time I had finished rounding the lake, the intermittent strong gusts of wind blasting me in my face had sapped a lot of my strength, but I was still doing alright. I still had no idea how far I'd gone. I'd past some fresher spray paint marks denoting a 2 mile mark at some point, but I had no idea where they'd started measuring that 2 miles.

This was when I started bargaining with myself.

I still felt relative good for having been running for what felt like hours, so I convinced myself I didn't have that far to go. 1/2 mile, tops. I could do that, easy.

And then I found the hill.

It didn't look too bad from the bottom. Steep, sure. Tall, you betcha. But it didn't look like it was that far until the path started leveling off. I could *do* this. I dug deep and started up the hill. I tried not to think about how far it was up the hill, or how tired my legs were, or how my lungs were burning (although all of those thoughts kept bouncing around in my head). I tried to just concentrate on keeping my feet moving.

I started to near the curve that I thought was the top of the hill. It was then that I realized my mistake. The path became less steep as it rounded the curve, yes, but as soon as it passed the curve it was right back up to it's kick-your-ass self. My spirit dropped and my legs slowed to a walk. There was no way this far into my run that I could make it up that hill. I resigned myself to walking the rest of the way up.

I felt slightly defeated when I reached the top of the hill, but then, seeing that my "finish line" was no where in sight, decided to start running again. Because I could. Turned out I had a good 1/4 mile left in me before I tapped my foot down on that 3m mark and slowed back down to a walk.

After a brief cool down walk, I stretched against a tree, then lay down in the grass and just let the sun soak into me. It took a lot of convincing to get me back up to head home. When I got home I went to enter my run into Map My Run and was surprised to find the distance for the loop was 3.34 miles. All of a sudden I didn't feel so bad for walking up half of that hill. That is the furthest I have ever ran, outside or in.

I am feeling a bit more confident about the Lilac 5k I'm planning to run in May. I figure, if I train to conquer the Prospect Park loop, 3.15 miles shouldn't be a problem!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Learning Patience

Yesterday was my first workout day where I had to be careful of my wrist. It was an exercise in frustration and patience.

When I did an ab work video using my stability ball, I had to modify (heavily) some of the exercises to avoid putting pressure on my wrist.

Later at the gym, in frustration over my inabilities, I pushed myself through a 3 mile run, despite my overwhelming desire to just call it around mile 2. Sitting on the mats stretching, I gazed longingly at the hand weights and weight machines.

I've been decent with keeping up on the upper body strengthening recently, and I've started to notice some changes in the shape of my arms. I'm now worried about a backslide. I realize that a bit of strength loss is inevitable, I'm just hoping it's not to much.

I'm trying very hard to have patience and give my body time to heal. It's a little easier because I can still run with this injury. I can also, with some modification, do most of my video workouts. Unfortunately, some of the things that help give me patience: Yoga and knitting, are out of the question for now.

Anyone know any good upper body strength moves that don't use your wrist?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Unexpected Injury, and avoiding an Injury cascade.

My workouts have been going well, aside from the fact that I've been struggling with consistency. I have added back in weight training to my days at the gym, and this is where, I believe, I caused my newest issue.

It's really a small injury. Somehow, over the course of some exercise or another I managed to strain something in my wrist. I didn't notice it right away, but by the middle of the next day my wrist was stiff and painful, but not swollen or discolored. So I followed the standard R.I.C.E. and ace bandaged up and let it rest.

That was yesterday. Today nothing has changed. It's still slightly sore when moved, and extremely stiff. I'm not sure what I did to it, but I'm sure it's only a minor strain, and time and rest will heal it.

Problem is I'm not a very patient person. It's eating me up right now not to be able to put pressure on my wrist. I was planning on doing some yoga this morning, that's out of the question. No upper body strength training until this heals. And since almost all of my workout videos involve moves that put pressure on my wrist, my options are seriously narrowed.

It's going to be a struggle over the next few days to keep myself from over-training my lower body. My fear now is that in an effort to keep active, and avoid using my wrist, I'm going to over-train my legs, and end up with an additional injury.

Any suggestions on avoiding an "injury cascade"?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Monthly check in.

I did my body measurements/weigh in for the month. This was one of those times where the scale was no longer an accurate indicator. I maintained my weight, but dropped inches almost everywhere. And really, the inches are what I care about. Well the inches and the fitness.

I am now 7 weeks away from the 5k I'm planning on running. I am confident in my ability to run 3 miles....on a treadmill. I really need to move my runs outside, to start building my endurance in the real world. I'm thinking I'll start with one outdoor run a week, but I'm really nervous about it. I get really embarrassed about my lack of fitness when I'm running where people can see me. I don't know why this no longer applies to the gym...but it still applies to outdoor running.

This month is going to be all about kicking it into high gear. Adding additional workouts, and continuing to push my running...slowly. I've also got to get a handle on my diet this month. I eat relatively healthy, but I've been kind of in a diet rut, eating the same foods over and over, with only slight variations. Now that the green markets are open again in the city, I'm hoping to add a little variety into my fruits and veggies.

Any suggestions on healthy dishes to try?

Tracking Transformation: Where I stand now