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Archive for January, 2010

Unexpected 2 miles

I surprised myself again yesterday.

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It is always an interesting experience when you try to talk down a workout or not expect much from yourself and then you end up exceeding those expectations. It’s quite a feeling!

Since I did yoga on Thursday, I had it on my mind to do some cardio on Friday.

Technically, I needed to do a 2 mile run since I switched my cross-training day and also because of snow, it was highly unlikely that I’d run on Saturday.

But as the day went on, I started to think the treadmills would be full, so I’d better prepare for the elliptical. Or perhaps I’d take it easy and do the bike and read some…blah blah blah.

When I got to the gym, ALL the treadmills were EMPTY! This never happens.

There are only five and usually they are occupied, even on a Friday afternoon with snow in the forecast. I’ve actually been at the gym before when we closed early for inclement weather.

Today must have just been my day. So I jumped on, warmed up and started my jog toward 2 miles. I jogged for about 5 minutes and then did a few intervals – 3 minutes easy then 2 minutes at a challenging speed.

Here’s how I finished –

Distance: 2 miles

Time: 20:07

Pace: 10:03.5/mile

While I have certainly ran outside faster than that, for the treadmill this was awesome.

I also did a few sprints here and there, at one point, I managed to get the treadmill up to 8.0 mph! Usually at 7.0 or 7.5, I’m grabbing for the hand rails but I managed to swing my arms and keep up for a minute!

Though I usually don’t like to set race goals because they intimidate me, I have a feeling that sometime this year I will smoke my 5K PR of 29:28.

Since I’m doing several 5Ks this Spring, I’m not going to pick which one it will happen at, ha ha.

Have you surprised yourself during a work out recently? How did it make you feel?

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Yoga calling

My training schedule called for a 2 mile run, plus some weights if I felt up to it.

But around lunch time, I really started to feel the need for yoga. Like I was craving it! So I changed days around and made today cross-training aka yoga 🙂

Perhaps it was influenced by the headband I wore today? Ha ha.

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So I went after work to a class for newbies but it was a bit more vigorous than that.

I had a few issues to start with: the instructor went a little too fast, the music didn’t feel right, plus the small room was really crowded!

But somehow I managed to focus and tried to get the most out of it while I was there.

Even though it wasn’t my “ideal” class, I still felt really great when I left there. I’m so glad I started this yoga challenge 4 weeks ago. I hope to keep it an integral part of my routine for a long time to come.

My question today for you is…what are some of your pet peeves in yoga classes?

Today, I found the instructor to be a little too high energy and unfocused. Plus she kept calling the poses by the wrong names.

But, I don’t want to judge too harshly, the class was free and Lord knows I call stuff wrong all the time. Namaste.

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Heavy legs

When it was almost time for Farrah and I to go for our 4 mile run today, I didn’t want to. I felt kind of tired and just blah mentally. I even tweeted about it!

But I looked to the positive: the temperature is in the high 30’s and there is suddenly an abundance of sunshine. So at the very least, I can go outside and get some Vitamin D, right? I also felt very thankful for my training partner and friend today 🙂

I knew I was slow when we first started but truthfully, Farrah spent most of our run several feet in front of me. But I just kept chugging along. I never felt like walking or slowing down, my legs just felt “heavy” and didn’t want to move any faster than my pace.

Distance: 4.31 miles

Time: 43:14

Pace: 10:02/mile

Funny how that run felt slow, huh? I’m very pleased with how things turned out. And I’m glad I didn’t let my mental funk talk me out of running today.

If you’ve ever not felt like working out, what did you do to get yourself moving?

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This morning we were hit with some winter weather that made driving conditions less than desirable. Therefore, I was not about to risk falling and injuring myself on a run outside today.

You may remember my post from last week about how the treadmill frustrated me. Well, I’m happy to report that Ms. Treadmill and I have hugged it out.

I had an easy two miles on the training schedule today and I did just that, after a 5 minute warm up and followed by a few minutes of cool down.

  • Distance: 2.0 miles
  • Time: 21:45
  • Pace: 10:53/mile

Like I said in that previous post, I have to expect my treadmill times to be slower, unless I am doing a speed workout. By keeping at this pace, I was able to finish the workout painlessly and in a good state of mind.

Did the treadmill change? No. I changed my attitude and adjusted my program as necessary.

I also did a quick weight training workout after I stretched really good.

  • Chest presses – 12.5 lb weights, 2×15
  • Shoulder presses – 10 lb weights, 1×15; 7.5 lb weights, 1×15
  • Bicep curls – 12.5 lb weights, 1×15; 10 lb weights, 1×15
  • Tricep overhead extensions – 12.5 lb weight (1), 1×15; 10 lb weight, 1×15
  • Leg extension machine – 35 lbs resistance, 2×15
  • Leg curl machine – 50 lbs resistance, 2×15

I’ve been slacking on my yoga the past few days and had planned on attending a class tonight taught by the beautiful Carrie, but I have so much on my plate right now.

I’m hoping to either do a relaxing home practice tonight or start up again in the morning.

Are there any fitness challenges or road blocks that you have overcome recently?

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Magic number 5

Today’s run was supposed to be just 4 miles. But Farrah and I hadn’t ran together in a while so there was a lot of life to catch up on!

We got a little carried away and realized toward the end of our run that we had done 5 miles instead!

Only we could accidentally run 5 miles! Here’s our stats:

  • Distance: 5.05 (same distance I did on Saturday, weird!)
  • Time: 51:00
  • Pace: 10:06/mile

I was really happy with this run, especially since more than halfway through I remarked that “I must be getting good because this isn’t bad at all.” Also, the hills that we hit along our usual course did not bother me this time like they usually do.

I think having yesterday off from everything to rest really helped prepare me for today. Just like an easy workout tomorrow will for Wednesday.

Have you ever accidentally done more in a workout than you intended to?

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First 5 miles

I have run five miles before, but today is the first time I have ran five miles since I have officially been in training for my mini marathon.

At first, I couldn’t decide between mapping out a five mile path around my neighborhood or driving to a local park, but since I had to make a trip to Whole Foods anyway, it made more sense to drive to Seneca and enjoy the scenery!

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The track is 1.2 miles long, so I ran it 4 times and then another quarter mile to get over the 5 miles I had planned.

The run was really reassuring. It was a little slower than I would’ve liked but for right now, I need to focus more on distance than time. Just knowing I can run 5 miles is pretty awesome.

  • Distance: 5.05 miles
  • Time: 52:34
  • Pace: 10:25/mile

When I first got to the park, I had to use the bathroom (thank goodness I chose a park and not my neighborhood, which would’ve been really far away from my house) so that gave me a good warm up walking over there.

But when my feet hit the ground, running felt so natural again. It felt almost easy. After the difficult time I had on the treadmill on Thursday, this was just what I needed.

During mile three, I started to have some lower back pain but it was minor and went away pretty quickly.

Other than that, I had no complaints. No knee, calf or other discomfort. No stomach upsets or side stitches. Easy breathing.

It was an awesome run!

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Yoga Challenge : Week 3

I just realized that when I first announced my Yoga Challenge I never set an end date!

I think I did that intentionally, so since this is an open-ended challenge, this will be the last time I number what week it is. Could you imagine “yoga challenge week 27”? Ha ha.

Anyway, I think it is significant that I’m in week 3 and this has become a fully-fledged habit. You know how they say it takes 21 days to form a habit? It’s so true; 21 days = 3 weeks.

But I feel like I’ve really incorporated yoga back into my life and it feels so good!

Today, I had the pleasure of attending an hour long yoga class here at work, so I did not do my morning practice today. The class was great!

It was a nice combination of standing, kneeling and lying down poses. I got to do tree pose, which is always a plus in my book 🙂 But I really liked the instructor too. Good choice for today.

Including this class, I managed to practice yoga 4 times again this week. Setting the realistic goal of 4 times per week (instead of every day) is another thing that I believe has made this challenge successful so far. Maybe someday I will get to a daily practice, but for now 4 works out great and it’s a lot more than I was doing before!

I have a run planned for Saturday so my next yoga time will likely be on Sunday. Since I already did my four times this week, that will just be a bonus 🙂

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Today it was raining all day long. I have always said when it comes to running, I can do rain or I can do cold, but I cannot do cold rain. So today I was bound to my frenemy, the treadmill.

I had 4 miles on the agenda today but I only managed to get through 3 of them. I was tired, achy and just frustrated and bored. It really made me realize that my attitude toward treadmills is still all wrong.

Here are my stats:

  • Distance: 3.0 miles
  • Time: 33:28
  • Pace: 11:09 / mile

I walked until the clock read 40 minutes to cool down. I also did some light stretching. As I sit here my knees are really hurting me. I can’t wait to get back outside. Oh yeah, back to my attitude.

Yes, the treadmill is different. I used to be more friendly toward it; in fact I did many of my training runs for my first half marathon (2008) on the treadmill. But I got away from it for so long that it’s been a process I have not embraced again just yet.

I’ve started to learn again that I need to go slower on the treadmill and worry more about distance than time, at least with longer runs; I can do speed work on the treadmill if I’m just doing a mile or two. I also need to start taking a towel with me.

Since I don’t have any scenery to look at, I need to plan for distractions to keep me from realizing what’s going on, to not feel like a hamster on a wheel. This might be music, television, or perhaps just covering up the screen with a piece of paper. I certainly don’t track myself like this outside, I just sort of go with the flow.

I read a really great article earlier this week about treadmills called The Upside of Running Inside and I think it is no coincidence. This hit home, especially today: “10 minutes per mile is a happy conversational run outside, but an insufferable slog on the mill.” Ha.

I really need to figure out how to make treadmills a positive part of my training. I will likely only have to use them once or twice a week at the most, less when the weather is more tolerable. So what’s the big deal?

How about you? Treadmills : love ‘em or hate ‘em?

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My own flow

This morning for my yoga practice, I decided to go with what I was feeling.

I wanted to be free from any computers, videos, strangers voices. I wanted to do an easy 20 minutes of yoga on my own!

So I lit some candles, turned off the overhead light and turned on the Meditation channel (music) on my digital cable box. I also set my cell phone alarm for 20 minutes ahead so that I wouldn’t fall asleep during Shavasana and be late for work 😉

I started out on the floor and did several seated poses before coming up to downward facing dog. I stayed in each pose for a few breaths, trying to decide where I was going to go next while I was taking the time to breath in each one. It worked pretty well but toward the end I sort of lost my train of thought.

When I was done, I felt like I had accomplished my task: feeling relaxed and invigorated at the same time. My flow was mostly stretching and not much strength since I did a weights workout yesterday. I also incorporated my personal favorite poses – half pigeon, tree pose (pictured below) and supta baddha konasana.

In February, I have an appointment with my friend Carrie to show me and my other friend Kim some proper alignment in order to get more from our home practice.

I look forward to learning more from her and developing my own flow, becoming less reliant on audio/video programs. Namaste.

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Yesterday, my workout plan called for running 1 mile and then completing some form of weight training.

Since I am a big fan of weight training, I know plenty of moves I can do but I have found it helpful to have a “program” to follow to make sure I cover all my bases and get the most out of my precious workout time.

This time, I decided to use the Sparkpeople 20-minute Dumbbell Workout which I printed off my computer before heading to the gym. I warmed up and ran 1 mile on the treadmill (easy in 12:00) and then got to work!

There were many things I liked about this routine, especially the time frame because it fit in perfectly with how much time I had left to work out. But there were some drawbacks as well.

The following is just my personal opinion:

Good

  • Time efficient
  • Hit every muscle group (chest, biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, legs, abs)
  • Included ab work (seated torso twist rocked!)
  • Stretching included

Not-so-good (and solutions)

  • I didn’t use enough weight (7.5 lbs, use more next time)
  • Crunches not challenging enough (add more reps)
  • The double leg lifts hurt my hip (try on bench instead of floor or switch to single leg)
  • Back extensions are really hard to do on floor (use balance ball)

Do you weight train? Follow a detailed program? What do you like or dislike about it?

I would definitely use this one again but make the modifications I mentioned above. I could also see myself doing a longer version of this with more than one set of the exercises.

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