I’m Back!

Well hi there!! I bet you thought I had dropped off the face of the planet. I think I get the most sporadic blogger award 😉 work has been nuts and it’s really hard to sit down and write a post when you have a puppy whose favorite perch is your chest. Seriously. She feels the need to be SO close to me that she will sometimes lay across my chest while we’re on the couch. And I let her because it makes me feel loved and her tummy is so warm! She also likes to perch on my shoulder and sit in the sunlight by the window, kind of like a cat.

 

Anywhoooo, since my half marathon I’ve done 2 races and 2 runs for a grand total of 12 miles. In 4 months. At first I was disappointed in myself and then scared that I might not like running anymore. It seriously took a ridiculous amount of effort to get myself out the door for those runs and all but ONE was done because I had committed to doing them with friends.

I was pretty sure that I was over running. Like an it’s not you it’s me type thing. The guilt set in, and then I was scared that if I did run, I would not be able to do it.

I finally got myself psyched to run the day before yesterday after work. I walked a bit with my husband and the pup to warm up, then I ran a loop that’s just shy of three miles. And includes a hill of death. I walked up that part but SERIOUSLY I wanted to die, I need to check on my garmin how much of an elevation change it is. My goal is to continue to do this loop a few times a week and eventually RUN up the hill of death without actually facing death.

Once I actually got out there, sans music, just me and my breathing, I was reminded how much I enjoy running! I had had a long busy day at work, but it all melted away. Also, because I am not training for anything, I simply ran until I felt like I needed a break, walked for a bit and then continued. But don’t confuse this with an easy workout, any time I wanted a break I would pick a spot in the distance and run HARD till I got there, then walked for less than a minute.

By the time I got home I was drenched in sweat and feeling really good about getting out there!

Bottom line, I like running, and I think I just needed a break after my half to remember that. So much of my training was completed because I felt that I HAD to not that I WANTED to. There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something you dread, so I am glad I took some time to step back.

Also, fun fact, yesterday was my two year anniversary!

Being the worst wife ever, I forgot that I had to go to the dance studio to help out, and like an idiot I forgot that the 1st was a Tuesday. Also, I steal the M&Ms out of his trail mix.

She’s Going for Speed

Morning! I hope you are all doing well. My husband got up to go swimming this morning, so I had to get up to take care of the pup (if one person gets up, she is up) at about 5:30 a.m. Gross. It’s no fun doing this when you don’t have something to show for it (like going to the gym or traveling somewhere). But this little love makes it worth it 🙂

So can I rant really quickly? I have quite a few pet peeves, but one of the biggest is when I am at work and people call me for something and act like it should be the MOST important thing ever. My voicemail CLEARLY states “if this is an urgent matter that need immediate attention…” and I leave instructions about how to transfer to my boss or to the operator. Fact: scheduling a tour is NOT one of those times. Especially when you’ve had more than a week to do so, and didn’t bother to contact me. So basically something that really should have been super simple is now complicated and people are leaving messages for my out-of-town boss, making it seem like I am not around to do my job. NOT THE CASE. Sorry, it really grinds my gears!

Deep breath.

Moving on. So as many of you know, I’ve been somewhat lost when it comes to running motivation since completing my half marathon. The thought of running long distances sounds awful. I’ve done some 5Ks, even set a new PR. When I was getting towards the end of that race, I realized I had a lot left in my tank! I had been training at such a slow and steady rate in order to complete long distances that I wasn’t pushing my pace at all.

And I really want to be faster! I feel like I am more of a short distance person, and while I am so proud of myself for completing my half marathon, I am not sure I am going to want to do another one (anytime soon at least). But I do want to be fast! At the 5K when I really started to book it, my Garmin said I was doing about an 8:30 minute mile. That’s pretty much lightning speed for me! And guess what. I didn’t die.

Here are some running faster tips I’ve found:

  • The single component that most improves pace in races, is a weekly speed session. At the track, start with 4 to 6 x 400. Increase the number of 400s every week by two more until, 10 days before the race, the final workout is: 14 x 400. Each 400 (one lap around a track) should be run eight seconds faster than you want to average per quarter mile. For example, if you wanted to run eight minutes per mile, your quarter-mile race pace would need to be two minutes. The workout pace per lap should in this case be 1 minute, 52 seconds. Walk for half a lap between the 400s. (source)
  • Breaking through to a personal best requires discomfort. Once a week, redefine your comfort zone by getting uncomfortable. Hill work, fartlek runs, speed work, running with a group or taking your run a little farther are all ways to create challenge and change in your running. With proper challenge, you’ll find improved fitness and strength that help you achieve your running goal. (source)  

So here is my plan, I want to get back into running more (I haven’t actually run by myself since before the race haha sad) preferably three times a week. One speed workout, one easy run (I have a course that involves me walking up a KILLER hill), and either a tempo or long run. I really want to use my Garmin for speed workouts, I know it’s capable of doing so, but I haven’t gotten that far into the user’s manual.

What do you prefer to focus on, speed or distance?

Weekend and Race Recap

Hello friends! I just wanted to take a quick moment to apologize for my inconsistency with the blog lately, but don’t take it personally, it’s been pretty much the same with most aspects of my life in the last few weeks.  I’m just feeling unmotivated in general. As I’ve written before, sometimes you have to snap yourself out of a funk before it gets any worse, so that’s my plan!

This past weekend was a lot of fun, my husband had two friends from out of town staying with us. I don’t think that our Wii has ever been on for as long as it was in those3 days. Seriously. I think it was off for less time than it was on haha. We also went to a nickel arcade and played a bunch of different pinball machines, something I don’t think I’ve ever done. It was fun!

On Saturday I ran a 5k with my friend Kassie. We ran the Thanksgiving race together, but this time we ran the whole thing together, and she beat her last 5K time by EIGHT MINUTES (we finished in 39:14, only 3 walking breaks). She is seriously a rock star, she keeps saying that she couldn’t have done it without me, but really, I wasn’t carrying her or anything, she did it on her own two feet, literally. We had so much fun talking and running, it was great. We also got these sweet medals.

I am not going to do a full recap because it was organized just like the Thanksgiving race, and was the exact same course. I do wish that they would reverse the course so that it didn’t have the slight uphill on the second half, but it’s still fairly flat. I felt fantastic running, it was my first real run since the half, and because it was so low key and I truly enjoyed myself, it reminded me WHY I run. Something I think I really needed.

On Sunday we played some more Wii (shocker, I know) then went ice skating. This was the third time I’ve been ice skating in my entire life, and the last time I went was about 4 years ago (in Salt Lake City) and it consisted of my husband pushing me around the rink. Haha. The first few laps on Sunday went the same way, but then I was determined to go on my own a bit.

My husband gave me some pointers, and I was off! I started feeling fairly confident and was having a blast going around and around. I even talked to a woman who was taking the adult beginning figure skating classes, which sound like so much fun. I skated for a few hours, fall free, and was really feeling good.

I think that if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you already know what happened next. A fall of epic proportions. The toe pic on my left foot accidentally dug into the ice, and I flew forward, and I belly flopped on the ice. The majority of the impact was on the right front side of my ribs (if I had had implants, one would have for sure exploded lol), and I am pretty sure I got some whiplash. I had the wind knocked out of me, and I called it a day. Luckily I was able to hold my head up, otherwise I would have smashed my face onto the ice, which would have been awful , but maybe I would have gotten that nose job I’ve secretly always wanted?  

This my friends, is why I decided to wait until after my half to dabble in any type of winter sport. I’m ridiculously clumsy.

How was your weekend? Are you clumsy? I certainly am, and I am not the person who falls and hops back up unscratched, I am the person who is constantly hurting myself, it’s like some invisible person has decided to spend the rest of their life pushing me down haha. I’ve had so many people tell me they don’t understand how I could be a dancer, and be so clumsy… I say everyone has a set amount of falls in their life, and I just get mine out of the way before I have to perform, that way I don’t fall onstage 😉

PDR and Recovery Tips

Helloooooooo!!! How is it going? I hope that your weekend was fantastic 🙂 mine has felt ridiculously short. Hate it when that happens!

I pushed my long run back a day because it was snowing (finally) yesterday, and yeah, I just don’t see that happening. Today was cold and sunny for the most part, which made for great running weather! Except for the snow falling from the trees on my face. I could have done without that. It was gorgeous though!

I met up with my usual long run buddies, but I felt like crap. Or they are both super fast. Or a combo of both. I couldn’t keep up their light-speed pace today, and I wasn’t feeling great, so I just settled into a pace I knew I could maintain and took a good amount of scheduled walking breaks.

I accomplished a new distance record and somehow got to 8 whole miles!! Even though I was slower than I wanted, I did it.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on different recovery techniques since I want to make sure that I am doing all that I can to keep my legs fresh and I thought that I would give you an update on how they are working!

  • Stretching, foam rolling, tennis ball massages, etc. This has been great, and I can always tell when I am neglecting it. Like today, I KNEW I should have stretched more yesterday after my 3 miles and 30 minutes on the bike. I usually do the following sequence: Simple hamstring stretch, downward facing dog, upward facing dog, pigeon pose (both with my torso up and lying on my front leg), IT band rolling with the foam roller, glute rolling or tennis ball massage, tennis ball massage on my calfs, then calf and quad stretches (standing). I feel amazing afterwards!
  • Icy Hot and Tiger Balm I don’t use these every day, but sometimes it just feels so amazing. I definitely do NOT use them with my Zensah compression sleeves, which leads me to..
  • Zensah Compression Sleeves These. Are. Amazing. While they claimed on twitter to not be magic, I don’t believe them.
    I picked these up at 50% off at Salt Lake Running Co. before my 10K. I slept in them that night, and I was SHOCKED when I woke up. I didn’t realize that I literally used to limp out of bed every morning because of the pain I would feel in my shin and calfs. Until I didn’t feel the pain and there was no reason to limp. I’ve been sleeping in them almost every night when I run, and I can feel such a huge difference. They are magical, but not a miracle. I still need to stretch and massage, but they have made such a huge difference, I don’t know if I could have made it this far without them.
  • Icing/Ice Baths Especially since it’s cold outside, it’s been a huge effort to continue icing, even though I instantly feel better when I do. I have been reading so many good things about ice baths, I decided to take the plunge today. Mainly because I have a plethora of ice outside my door. Thank you snow! I added 5 BIG bowls of snow to cold water and sat on down. Wow. It was intense, but it got easier quickly, and I managed to stick out the 15 minutes. I still feel cold, but I am hoping it will be worth it. I will be sure to update you on the results. If I can feel like I can walk without dying tomorrow, I will count it as a success.
  • Nutrition It’s really important to make sure to fuel well after your run. We have gotten into the habit of hitting up a coffee shop after our run, and on most days I get a latte or something, mainly for the protein content. Then I eat. I know that this is an aspect I need to work on, but it’s kind of trial and error.

Do you have any recovery techniques? What is your favorite way to recover? Tell me about a fitness goal you recently accomplished 🙂 

Uncharted Territory

Good afternoon! I hope you are having a lovely day so far. I have been a busy bee and didn’t realize how late it was. I just finished a larabar and some tea, it was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up before my 4 mile (easy) run I have on the books today.

Speaking of mileage, I am officially in unchartd territory. I’ve talked a little about my history with running, but I’ve never run father than 4 miles at one time. Until last week.

(The first 7 and 5 had a few miles of scheduled walking. From Daily Mile) but my 5 mile long run is the farthest I’ve ever run. In. My. Life. Pretty crazy to think about! Especially since I am just over a third of the way there.

I know this sounds silly, but it never really dawned on me that I would be running this far. I mean, I knew I would be running, but I never realized how much. Suddenly, I see that after today, I’ve run farther than 100 miles since I started training. If you had told me that a year ago, I would have thought you were nuts.

I realized today that there was really only two ways I could think of this. One, I could become scared and uncertain because I have crossed the line into the unknown. OR, I can realize that I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible and I am going to continue to soar.

I chose the latter.

Maybe I am not as fast as I hope to be, or I am not as slim as I want to be, or one thing or another. But I can’t focus on that. I can focus on listening to body and pushing myself to my limits, and beyond. That’s the ONLY way accomplish something amazing.

I’d love to hear new accomplishments you are proud of, they don’t need to be any kind of fitness or running related! Share something you are excited about, don’t be shy! Take a minute to brag about yourself, I know you deserve it 🙂

Overtraining Signs

So yesterday’s workout was a huge and epic fail. I went to the gym to get my walk/run/walk on on the treadmill, and it wasn’t all that bad at first. I was looking forward to it hurting my shins less and being able to control my pace. The first two miles of walking were fine, then I started running. OUCH. So much ouch. I just felt like my legs were so heavy and ugh, it was not great. Then my husband told me that he wasn’t feeling well and would wait for me downstairs, but I still had 2 more miles to do.

As he was walking away, I looked back, tripped, my arm caught on my headphone cord, my iPhone flew off the treadmill, and the back completely shattered. I am so glad I just bought that $34 case when it did NOTHING to protect my phone. I should be happy that I didn’t fall and fly off the treadmill, but I’m not. (Also, one of these days I need to do a post about my weird fear of falling off the treadmill haha.)

It still seems to be working, but I am just so annoyed. At this point I just left, I was too mad. Maybe not the best idea, but I would most likely have lost my temper, not the best thing to do in a crowded gym.

Yesterday I was feeling really odd, super tired, sluggish, and at one point dizzy. I was ravenous for anything containing carbs, and was hungry about every two hours. All symptoms that I am coming down with something (for me anyways) something that just can’t happen right now, and something I know can be a sign of overtraining.

This article from Runner’s World (aka my Bible) has some good info about over training, as well as includes a handy quiz to help you determine your overtraining. I took the test and I am at a 12, and 15 means you may be overtraining, as does this feeling of my legs feeling heavy. Something I’ve been dealing with the past few days. Something to keep an eye on, and use as an excuse to nap more. Sorry boss, I need to take a 3 hour lunch break so that I can go nap.   

I think I know why my legs are so tired, I did a BUNCH of leg work on my weight training day last week. I think I just shot them to heck, and then I tried to continue my running. Smart self.

So, no more lunges, squats or things like in the amount I did them last week. I am going to focus my strength training on my upper body and abs as well as working on things like my shins and my inner and outer thighs, and stretching.

I think the real key here is to listen to your body, and find the balance between pushing yourself past your limit in a good way, and pushing it to the point that you are injured or sick, something I think that all athletes struggle with as some point.

Have you found that balance? What works for you? Runners, do you do leg exercises? Or is it too much? Nonrunners, what exercise is your FAVORITE?

Again, being proactive about training instead of reactive is one of the best things you can do, and remember, I have zero medical qualifications. I may work in a hospital, but I majored in PR 🙂

Training Update: Week 1

Holy cow, one week down, seven to go until my half marathon!

This week was GREAT! I felt like I was challenged and pushing myself without feeling like I was going to keel over and die. OK, I kind of felt like that on Monday because I was so unprepared for the cold, but other than that, things are going well.

Here is what I did:
Monday: walk 2 miles, run 1 mile, walk 2 miles.
Tuesday: 2 weights circuits
Wednesday: 1 mile easy run + abs
Thursday: REST
Friday: same as Monday
Saturday: REST (I swapped Saturday and Sunday, I was a little hung over haha, woops!)
Sunday: 2 mile “long” run

I felt great the first few days, then I started to feel a little sluggish. Yesterday my legs felt like lead and that I couldn’t lift them high enough to run. My average pace was SO slow compared to the beginning of the week, I don’t really know what happened. Oh wait. Three glasses of wine happened and I am not 21 anymore you say? Well FINE.

What I want to work on: My overall energy level. I think it may have been the crazy stressful week I had last week, but I was dragging. I also want to work on pacing and pushing myself. An “easy” one mile should not be me going out and pushing it and having a new mile PR. But on the other hand, walking should not consist of sauntering, I should be speed walking!

I also need to plan out my routes better and possibly get a gym membership. For example, I have 6 miles to do tonight, and I honestly don’t see that happening outside. I am going to run out of daylight for sure and I just don’t feel comfortable running alone in the dark. I am also not good at visualizing what 6 miles is on foot (or anyway for that matter). I did this huge loop on Friday only to discover that it was barely 4 miles.

All in all, I think it was a super successful week! On one hand I am feeling apprehensive about the entire half marathon and that I might not be ready in time. But on the other hand, I know I’ve done all I can to set myself up for success by having an ironed out training plan, a mapped out meal plan, and a positive attitude and determination.  All I need to do is stick to the plan and it will all work out for the best.