Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Slow and Steady 5.24 miles!

So this week has been a bit crazy.  Monday I went swimming with Dad at the club.  We do the Master's workout which is an hour long and usually pretty tough.  I had wanted to run that day too but that workout always takes it out of me so I came home and focused on study for the GRE exam.  Tuesday I took the exam and I'm glad it's over!  I think I did ok but not great.  Hopefully it's enough to get me into where I want to go!

Today I headed out for a run, I didn't know how far I was going to go but figured I'd would decide on the way.  I felt really good but about a mile in started getting really thirsty. I realized that I probably hadn't hydrated enough before the run.  I was thinking I'd make it a shorter run then around 3 miles.  Then I realized I was next to the Mendicino County offices, which as most public buildings do, have a water fountain.  So I jogged in and hydrated a bit.  Then I decided to make it a longer run.  I didn't follow an iTunes workout this time, I took Shannon's advice and just decided to run.  I focused on running a steady pace for 10 minutes then walking for 2 minutes to see how that would feel. I felt really good and felt that I was actually going at a slightly faster past.  

I tried to really focus on how my body felt while I was running. I noticed my upper back fatiguing and tried to figure out why.  I think I need to improve my posture but I also found that when my back was fatiguing I was tensing my shoulders.  I focused on relaxing my shoulders throughout the run.  I also noticed that my legs fatigued a lot faster on the concrete sidewalk so I opted to run in the road for as much of the run as I could.

I finished 5.24 miles in over an hour but I feel good about the run.  I made the miles and I worked hard.  I hit my water spot twice which was a big help!  I keep fighting frustration because I want to see improvements instantly.  My biggest lesson in this whole process is going to be learning how to be patient. I keep telling myself, "you have plenty of time to get to 26.2."  I am really looking forward to getting to the point where I can go for an 8 mile run and run the whole thing.  That'll be a 2 margarita day!

How are my girls doing?  Shannon seems to be running really consistently and Jocelyn's working hard on getting her body on board.  Keep it  up ladies!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I went for a run on Friday afternoon and it was a pretty good run.  It's the longest run I've done in a while.  I went 4.64 miles in about 56 minutes.  Pretty good for me considering I completely bonked in the middle of the run.  I had some dry cereal before I went but I completely underestimated how hot it was outside.  We've had a real Indian Summer here with temps in the mid 80's.  I started out feeling really good.  I was trying out a new workout I downloaded from iTunes, the Intermediate 10K workout.  After the first 10 minutes you do 10 minutes of speed work.  So you run for 1 minute then rest and repeat that 5 times.  Well I don't think I ate enough or drank enough water before I went running because those completely took it out of me.  I finished them as strong as I could but I couldn't do the 8 minutes of endurance after that.  I tried but my legs felt like lead and my back was fatiguing.  I had to stop and walk and stretch a few times.  I opted out of the workout at the 30 minute mark and proceeded to jog the rest of the way home.  It was really more interval workouts because I would run and then have to walk, I think I was able to run 3 or 4 blocks then I'd have to walk again.  I started to get hungry during the speed workout and that's where I think I was having the problem.  Bonking is basically when you hit a wall and your body literally can't do anymore because you are deficient in energy.

Mentally I felt bad about it but it was still a solid hour of hard work and a good learning lesson.  I didn't run yesterday or today because I've been lost in a sea of crap called my room. I am trying to get stuff slightly organized so I can spend tonight and tomorrow focusing on the GRE.  I plan on running tomorrow morning and maybe before the GRE as well on Tuesday.  If not Tuesday then defiantly on Wednesday and Thursday before we leave for Colorado.  

As I've been going through my stuff I've come across a few things that have thrown me for a loop.  I found a magazine clipping from my Freshman year in College and it is oddly very appropriate so I thought I'd share what it says, 

At first it was "There's no way I can run 3 miles." Then, 'There's no way I can run 10." Now it's "There's no way I can run 26.2." And really, there is

I don't remember where I got it from but it's from an ad.  I think it's very fitting because I don't know how we're going to do this but I'm excited to get to where we actually do it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back at it!

By last night my back was feeling pretty good, I had about 90% of my normal range of motion back and the pain was down to a very dull soreness in certain positions. It's been a rough last few weeks and working out has really kept my spirits up. This week has been hard because I've had to force myself to rest. I got up today and headed to the gym, I wanted to run but it was way too dark at 6am to run outside. I got to the gym and had to keep telling myself, "Treadmill, no weights yet!"

I got on the treadmill and ran 5 minutes intervals for about 25 minutes along with a cool down and a set of lunges. I thought about pushing it all the way to 30 minutes but I felt so good I didn't want to push it and strain the muscle again. It felt great though, my stride was easy, legs felt strong, lungs felt strong. All in all a really good run even though it was short. I also decided that by cutting it short by 5 minutes I could spend more time stretching which I needed. My legs were pretty tight along with my back. I stretched for a good 10 minutes and then hit the showers. I feel so good right now, alert and engerized. Tomorrow I will try for a longer run, I'm thinking 5 to 6 miles and see how I feel.

I will be in Ukiah starting tonight until we leave for Colorado on Thursday. I can't believe it's almost here! I'm hoping to spend some time getting in some longer runs and strength workouts before I leave. I'm a bit worried about how I'll transition. It's so easy to leave your workout routine behind when you move to a new place and have new things to do and people to hang out with. So Shannon and Jocelyn I'm gonna need your help to really make me keep doing what i'm doing! Make me feel guilty for not running when I should be!

This morning Shannon sprinted to the train and it made for the funniest thing I've read in a long time. So please check out her blog, and read about Mr Train Conductor Man and then check out Jocelyn's comment. I about died on the BART this morning while I was reading it. Thank you for that!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

i can move my head this far!

Well I attempted to run on Monday and it wasn't pretty. I jogged for all of 30ft before I stopped and turned around. The muscle strain in my back tweaked with every other step. I've now been resting since Sunday. It's getting better, The pain is more dull and I've gained back a lot of my range of motion. I'm hoping that tomorrow I can get in an easy jog before work. Just 2 days left in the city then I get to go to Ukiah for a week to pack and take the GRE. I leave for Colorado next thursday and then it'll be back to square 1 with training. I'm so ready though!

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Turn

Shannon's had her hip problems, Jocelyn her knee and shin splint problems so I guess it's my turn to have an injury.  I rested Saturday and then Sunday I planned on running.  After church I was working on something and then all of sudden I had pain in my back.  I can't tilt my head to the right or turn it all the way to the right or tilt it all the way back without pain.  This has happened to me before once, about 3 years ago during RA training at RIT.  I got this sharp pain in my back and I couldn't move my head.  It really freaked me out and I felt really dizzy all day so finally I went to the ER that night.  They told me that I had strained a muscle in my back and gave me a  muscle relaxer.  Looks like I've managed to do the same thing again.  I have no idea how this happens but I'm guessing it has something to do with not enough stretching and poor posture (that's my theory at least).  I wanted to swim today but the problem is that the pain is on my breathing side so I don't think that yelping in pain is going to do me much good when I'm supposed to be breathing.

I am trying ice and heat on it to see what works best and taking advil.  I am going to try and run later today and see if that will loosen it up.  If it's painful I won't keep running.  I hate being injured, hate it hate it hate it!  I need to get over that though cause with what we're planning on doing there is bound to be other pulls and strains along the way.

But hey way to go Shannon and Jocelyn!  Shannon had a great weekend with some longer runs and Jocelyn ran 1 mile in 10 minutes no walking!  Way to go girls!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Inspiration...

I ran today, I woke up later than I wanted and sat in front of my computer for about 10 minutes trying to talk myself into just skipping it. I knew I would feel guilty if I didn't run and I ate a lot of sugar yesterday which made me feel sick so I really wanted to run that out of my system. I did 3 miles in about 35 minutes. I didn't drink or eat anything before I went which I think hurt me 3/4 of the way in. I was following the "My Best 10K" workout from iTunes. You spend 5 minutes doing an easy warm up run then stop and do lunges for about 2 minutes. My legs were lead after the lunges and continued to feel that way for another 10 minutes. I did some significant lifting this week so I think my legs were tired. The last section is of really fast running for 5 minutes before you cool down. Well I hit that section just when I arrived at the bottom on hill, needless to say I walked part of the hill but I finished strong. I'm really glad I ran, I got discouraged during the run but I'm still glad I did it.

Speaking of being discouraged, Jocelyn's hit a rough patch in her running. Her knee is really bothering her and it feels like it's just always going to be like this. Getting discouraged in your running happens and for many it defeats them. I got discouraged this morning when I had to walk twice in my run, there's nothing wrong with walking but part of me felt like, "I should be getting faster, this should be getting easier and all of sudden it's impossible!" If you look at the successful runners there are usually in thier thirties. There's a reason for that, many of them say when they were younger they were too impaitent to get to where they wanted to be and got frustrated. But now with some time and grade they've become less hurried and more focused on the journey. I know for me I want to go running once and be 20lbs lighter and 20 minutes faster. It's hard to stick with something that is physically just hard and slow to yeild results. I've been wanting to run a marathon for a long time but never committed to actually doing it, why? I don't think I can actually do it, never have. 26.2 miles is FOREVER! I'm going to die, I'm going to burn out I'm going to be walking the whole thing in shame. But this time is different, in part because my two best friends are joining me and they make me feel like a gillizon dollars and like I can do anything in the world.

I'll tell you a secret though, the thing that has kept me running and pushing towards the Ironman and Marathon has been one thought: the finish line.

I stop and I think about how exhausted I'll be but then there's the finish line, and then you cross it and you realize you've just done it. You did something you never thought you could ever do. You've completed something so physically taxing people call you crazy for even consisdering doing it. You are a finisher. That's not even the best part, at the end of the marathon I get to cross that line holding hands with two of my best friends, it doesn't get much sweeter than that. It may be stupid but everytime I think about that I start to cry. It's the same for the Ironman, I will collapse into a ball of sobs when I finish it. And it will be for all the people who have doubted me and scoffed when I said what I wanted to do. When I hit the skids again in my running I'll write a longer post about the moment I decided to do the Ironman. It's something I'll never forget. But until then ladies run tall and walk strong we are stronger than we could ever imagine.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I've been bad...

So now having been "blog spanked" by both of my friends I am attempting to redeam myself. Yesterday was my rest day in between strength training days. I wasn't too sore but just sore enough to feel what I had worked the previous day which I always enjoy. It's quiet the esteem boost to walk around thinking "Oh I feel that, sweet I really did work my inner thighs/back/abs/chest." Or maybe it's just me but I enjoy it!

I got a text message from Jocelyn last night announcing that she was running the next morning. At 5:55am I got out of bed and saw a text from Shannon saying "I ran this morning, did you?" Let's keep in mind that everything I do occurs 3 hours later than my fellow east coasters but I still feel like I'm slacking! Maybe I should be getting up at 3am to join them on thier 6am runs?

Or maybe not :-P

Anyways I made it to the gym and did 30 minutes of strength training. I did the same routine as Tuesday but with slightly shorter rest periods and incresed the number of reps by 2 on a couple of sets. I was definatly sweating and tired by the end of so I really enjoyed my shower. I know tomorrow and Saturday I'm really going to feel it in my chest from the push ups and roll-ins. You know the saying "Hurts so good?" Well it does!

My Mom told me about a race in Ukiah next weekend called the Harvest Run, it's a 3 mile race supporting the High School Cross Country team. I'll do that Saturday morning and see what my current 5k time is. Nothing else too exciting going on, after tomorrow I will only have 3 days left at my job then I get a week off before I move to Colorado!

Tomorrow I plan on running in the morning, hopefully about 3 miles, before I head to work. Then Saturday will be a longer run or bike ride in Ukiah. Oh man all of a sudden i'm really to that!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm Still here!

I got lazy this weekend and didn't update my blog as regularly. Anyways Sunday I was going to run but it ended up being a rough day so I went for a hike with my family instead. It's that time of the month so I was on an emotional rollarcoaster this weekend.
Yesterday was good though I went to the Master's swim workout with Dad. We did about 2,000 yds in an hour and I was exhausted! I wanted to get in a short run but the workout was harder than I had antcipated. I cleaned up and got packed for the week instead.

I left a bit early so I could hit the Fleet Feet in Santa Rosa to get new running shoes. I got there 10mins before it closed and they were nice enough to help me get some shoes. I ended up with a pair of Mizuno Inspires. This is the first pair I've owned from this brand and I'm really excitied. They are very supportive and light.

Despite being really tired this morning I pulled myself out of bed and got to the gym. I did a routine I got from my Women's Health magazine earlier this year. It's a great routine that really works your whole body.

I really get a kick out other people at the gym sometimes. There was this guy next to me while I was working out and he was doing the weirdest stretches. He was swinging his hips around in a HUGE circle and then he started punching the air. It was hard for me not to crack a smile cause this guy was obviously trying to act like he lives at the gym but he was wearing these swim trunks with huge orange flowers on them. Then there was this other woman behind me who was standing there acting like a little kid who needs to go to the bathroom, bounching back and forth. It wasn't until I took a break that I noticed the tiny 1lb weights in her hands. It was really odd how there was plenty of room for each of us to spread out and have our own space yet these two yahoos were both within 3 feet of me. It made it really awkward for me to change from move to move.

Jocelyn finished her 5K! And in a very impressive time of 37 minutes, that's awesome for your first 5k! She commented on her blog that during the race she was thinking, "And I want to do 26 miles?!" I had that same experience this weekend too. I wasn't feeling too hot during my 3 mile run and I caught myself thinking, "Are you f*cking nuts?! You haven't even hit 2 miles and you want to go 26?!" Thankfully we still have 8 months before we have to do 26 and lots of training ahead of us. I'm looking forward to the day where I hit 10 miles and go, "Oh that's 10 miles? Sweet!" Keep on keeping on ladies!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rest Day

Greetins All!

Well today I've decided to take a rest day.  It's my Mom's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!) and my brother is in town for the weekend.  I'm also really tired and sore from this week.  Yesterday I was planning on a long bike ride but I ended up spending most of the day doing laundry and working on my bike.  It's been sitting for about 4 months now while I was in Alaska so it needs some tlc.  I re-wrapped my handlebars and tomorrow I'll re-attach my aero bars so I can go for a long ride.  I saw both Shannon and Jocelyn had trained so I knew I couldn't slack off.  So I put on my iPod around 5 and went for a 30 minute run.  I found these training aids on iTunes from NikePlus that I really like.  It's a track of music that has a variety of songs plus a coach directing you what to do.  The one I got is called "My Best 10K Beginner" it's 30 minutes broken up into 5 minute segments plus a section of lunges.  It's actually really helpful and a good workout!

Unfortunately yesterday for lunch I'd had a fairly large burrito and it was still sitting in my stomach during my run.  I felt ok until I had to start the fast sections, I stopped to walk a bit to ensure I didn't puke on the road.  So not he greatest run I've ever done in my life but still I logged miles and minutes so I'm happy. I logged 2.79 miles in 33 minutes which includes 3 shorter sections of walking.  Wow now that I look at that I'm really happy.  I usually run a 11 to 12 minute mile so maybe I'm speeding up a bit?  I'd love to run a 10 minute mile during the marathon.

So today I am baking cupcakes for my Mom, stretching and relaxing!  Tomorrow I will run, probably closer to 5 miles then Monday I may swim or ride my bike.  Congrats to Jocelyn and Shannon who have both been training and doing well.  I wish I could be there tomorrow to cheer you two on at the 5K!  Just remember, you can ALWAYS walk if you have to, there is no shame in that.  Start out slow so you can pick up the pace later and remember how it feels to cross that finish line, it's the best high ever!  

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dat hurts...

Normally I would be resting between strength training sessions but this week is a little funky so I opted to focus less on arms today and more on legs. I managed to get up this morning but it was a hell of a lot harder than it was yesterday. I got into bed later because my mind was going a million miles an hour so I got less sleep. It was cold this morning and I didn't have any emails indicating either of my compariots had braved the dark morning.

I knew I would regret not getting up so I went ahead and bit the bullet. This time I was a lot more prepared for getting ready for work and what I needed. Yesterday I was rushing a lot cause I didn't check the train schedule for after my workout. It wasn't the best session I've had at the gym before. I tried to start a couple of routines I like to do that are sweat and grunt inducing. Mentally I was not there though, I was bored and distracted. So I opted to do 3 sets of each exercise in different areas of the gym. I started with weighted lunges, then did some weighted single leg squats on a step, then some weighted step ups. Then I moved into the weight area where I was the only girl which isn't saying much since there was only one other guy there! I did leg presses and attempted some laying down pull ups. The last ditch effort at saving my workout was 3 sets of back extensions. By then it was 7:50, I'd done my 30 minutes so I hit the showers. The good news is I worked my legs cause they were shaking while I was getting dressed (makes it pretty awkward to put your pants on!).

No that I'm at work I am feeling the effects of yesterday's session, my obliques and triceps are sore. Probably tomorrow my legs will kick in, so I think I'll plan a nice bike ride to stretch them out. Unfortunatly it sounds like Jocelyn and Shannon both had rough mornings too. Jocelyn ran but took a spill on her way to work and is now nursing a sore muscle. Shannon is disappionted in an inital set back in her fitness goals. But hey ladies it's almost Friday! Today is my friday but tomorrow is yours and then it's the weekend! Wooot!!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Shakey Arms

Knowing that Shannon and Jocelyn were both planning on early morning workouts I knew I had to also. So last night I got everything ready I packed my clothes for work, got my shower stuff and laid out my workout clothes. My alarm went off at 6am and I had 10 minutes to put on my clothes and make my bed in order to catch the BART to Daly City. I was tempted to just say, "oh sleep is no nice..." but I saw two emails on my phone, one from Jocelyn, "I did it! Got up and ran!" and the other from Shannon, "Me too!" Damn you two! ;-)
Then I turned to my right and there were all my workout clothes, ok no excuses let's do this!

I got to the train in plenty of time and proceeded to read my Backpacker Magazine, all about the deadliest hikes and survivor stories, for the 45 minute ride to Daly City. From there I walked 10 minutes to the gym. I dropped my stuff in a locker and hopped on a treadmill for about 5 minutes. A couple years ago I was watching something and a personal trainer talked about what he thought the best course for weight training is. He said warm up on a cardio machine for 5 minutes, running/jogging to get your heartrate up then do your lifting. If you want more cardio you should do it after your lifting. I'm interested in endurance sports not sadomasocism buddy!

Here's the 45 minute lifting session I did,

  • 10 Reps Step ups on an Aerobic step w/2 sets of steps w/10lb dumbells in each hand
  • Immediately following I do 10 reps of squats w/bicep curls
  • 30 second rest total of 3 sets
  • 10 Reps of seated bicep curls + 10 Reps Overhead Presses 12lb dumbells x 3 Sets
  • 10 Reps overhead Tricep + 10 Reps Chest Press 12lb dumbells x3 Sets
  • 10 Reps Leg Press w/2 45lb weights x 3 Sets
  • 10 Reps of Hanging Leg Lifts x 2 Sets
  • 10 Reps of Roll-ins x 3 Sets (This is by far one of my favorite Ab Exercises!)

Here's how to do the Roll-ins:

Advanced Stability Ball Abdominal Exercises:Roll-ins
This is a popular stability ball abdominal exercise. It's usually one of the first that I teach my clients once they have mastered crunches on the ball and regular push ups.
This exercise requires good to above average upper body strength. If you can do 10 or more push ups, you should be able to hold your body in position during this exercise.

Starting Position: From a push up position, place your feet on the ball. Keep your arms straight and your abs pulled in. Form: Keeping your abs engaged, bring your knees towards your chest. Hold for 1 second, and then slowly return to the starting position.

Personal Trainer Tips: Getting into the starting position can be the toughest part of this exercise. If you cannot hold yourself in the push up position and place your feet on the ball, start by lying with your stomach on the ball and walk your hands forward until your legs are on the ball. The further you roll out the more challenging the exercise becomes. The most challenging position is with the toes on the ball.You must have good upper body strength to perform this exercise. If you can perform a few push-ups, you should be able to hold yourself in the start position. Also, you must keep your abs pulled in as you extend your legs so that your back does not arch.

Now needless to say at the end of this workout my arms were tired! So I hit the showers and while I was trying to dry my hair my arms began to shake. That's how you know you've worked a muscle group I guess!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just 5 more minutes...

This past weekend I flew to New York City to surprise my best friend and fellow marathon trainee, Shannon, for her birthday. It was a great weekend and I managed to convince Jocelyn to go running with me on Saturday too (sorry about the dry heaves love). I spent most of the day yesterday flying back. I had hoped to get back to my friend's house in Berkeley around 5 and go for a quick run before making dinner. However I just barely missed the baggage cutoff and had to "voluntarily seperate" from my bag. The woman at the counter kept telling me that my bag was probably going to make it on the plane. When I got to San Francisco and made it to baggage claim we had to wait for them to fix the belt and then I had to wait for all the bags to arrive. As it turns out, my bag didn't make. This nixed my running plans because my shoes and workout clothes were in my luggage.

I was so exhausted from the weekend and from traveling all I wanted to do was take a shower and eat some dinner. Unfortunatly my bag didn't arrive until 8pm so then I had to drive back across the bay to pick it up. I ate but no time or energy for a shower until today. I had hoped to get up and hit the gym on my way to work this morning but I was too exhausted. Instead I will hit the gym tomorrow for some strength training and do the same on Thursday. I've got a unique situation going on right now that presents it's own challenges. I am working south of San Francisco 3 days a week and then driving 2 hours north to Ukiah to spend 4 days with my parents. While I'm in SF it's hard to get out for runs because I have an 1.5 hr commute each way so I get up in the dark and get home in the dark. I've decided instead to leave the house earlier and stop at my old gym in Daly City which is right next to the BART(subway system) on my way to work.

Ukiah is probably the best place I've ever lived for running/cycling. It's flat and wide open. The 4 days a week I'm up there will be my longer runs and cardio days. The other fun part to this whole set up is that this is only lasting until the end of this month. At that point I am moving to Colorado for the winter where I will be at 8,100 ft above sea level. I have no plans to stop my running for the winter. When I first started running I was a freshman in College in central Minnesota and it was winter time. You know the saying "Baptism by fire"? Well I had a Baptism by ice. I've enjoyed running outside in the winter ever since. I know the altitude is going to be a big challenge so I'm glad we've got lots of time before the marathon so I can slowly add mileage after I've adjusted to the altitude.

This weekend I'll be in Ukiah to celebrate my Mom's birthday and I'm planning on heading out for a 20 to 30 mile bike ride a long with a couple 4 to 5 mile runs and even some swimming! Maybe after the marathon I can convince Shannon and Jocelyn to do a triathlon...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Baby Steps

Greetings all!

Welcome to my new blog.  This blog will follow my progression from recreational runner to marathon finisher.  I have been planning on completing an Ironman Triathlon for some time now and part of that race is a marathon distance run.  I've wanted to complete a marathon prior to doing the Ironman so I know I can do it.  

Every time I've mentioned most people react with "are you nuts?!"  The answer is "Yes I am and proud of it!"  Two of my best friends have been thinking a long the same lines as me and are joining me in training.  We have chosen the Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego to train for.  It's supposed to be a great beginner's race and it's far enough out that we have plenty of time to train.

I'll be posting progress, injuries, successes, failures, musings, and hopefully some tips.  If any of you have done long distance running please and have advice or tips please leave it!  Shannon and Jocelyn have also created blogs following their training experiences so be sure to check them out as well.

Happy running!