five outdoor miles

The good news is, I made it outside. And, I ran a decent number of miles.

I did not, unfortunately, manage to run the number of miles I planned- I was originally hoping to do 6 or 7 miles, and I only managed 5. The cold weather threw me for a loop, more than I expected. Also, since most of the people in my neighborhood do not shovel their sidewalks, I wound up trudging through several inches of snow on most of my route. In fact, I wound up doing a lot more walking than usual, and just going a lot slower than usual.

I also fought a lot of stiffness and soreness in my left leg. First the hamstring, then the calf, and finally the hip.

It was frustrating, but at the same time, I’ll call this a win. I made it outside, I moved five miles, and tonight I am tired and sore, but I feel good.

so frustrated!!!

Dear blog, I’m so frustrated.

I really, seriously, wanted to run outdoors this morning. I wanted to do a long run- six or seven miles, maybe? I had really good and honest intentions.

But this morning, I woke up, cuddled underneath my warm blanket, and I thought… running… mehhhh…

Thus I hit the snooze button, overslept through my normal running time, spent many hours being mad at myself for missing my run, and finally I decided to go to the gym this afternoon for my usual (short) treadmill run. (Haven’t left yet- I will probably go to the gym after I finish this post.)

I want to run. I want to run a lot. If I do a half marathon in a few months, I NEED to run a lot so I can figure out a few more details- namely fuel and hydration. But winter is just… winter! Who wants to run outside or, for that matter, leave the warm comfort of bed?

My overall mileage has dropped significantly- from 25-30 miles per week back when I was training for my 10k in November to a mere 5-10. Plus I’m not really training on hills, which is what I need to be doing.

Ok. I’m done whining now. I’m gonna go change my clothes and run. Wish me luck!!

yoga and long runs

*edit: wrote this yesterday morning, just discovered it wasn’t published*

This morning, I went to my Tuesday early morning yoga class. As usual, it felt great. I’ve been fighting a tight hamstring, so stretching was really good for it.

Tomorrow I am seriously considering going for a run- outdoors. The ice has melted enough that the roads should be (reasonably) safe, just really really cold. My biggest fear is that my current workout apparel will either keep me too warm or not warm enough.

Running outside would also be a GREAT time for me to test out some of my new running toys that I received last Christmas. I have a couple of belts, water bottles, and a few other things that I’d like to try- of course I will only be able to use one or two, but it would sure be a fantastic time to try it.

happy outdoor thoughts and Boston trails

In honor of being trapped indoors, here’s a more OUTDOORS article for you…

My sister lives near the Charles River in Boston, and recently New Balance pledged to clear the snow from the paths along that river. I’m actually a bit jealous, because I have seen these paths and they are SOOOO pretty. I would love to be able to train on those paths! I also think it’s just pretty neat that a major athletic company (New Balance) is agreeing to clear the snow off of those paths. Now I just need to find a way to “accidentally” get stuck in Boston so I can test out those paths… :)

long runs and fast runs

The past week really has been good. I’ve done a reasonable amount of runninglo and a fantastic amount of cross training. My biggest concern in training for a half marathon has been doing the needed weekly long runs, particularly when the weather outdoors is so disagreeable, and this week I think I may have at least partially solved that problem.

My “big” day was last Wednesday. Originally I went to the gym with no extraordinary intentions. As of late, the gym has been quite packed with what I call the “New Year’s Crowd”- that group of people that makes a new year’s resolution to lose weight and/or exercise more, and buys a gym membership. Usually they give up within a couple of weeks- at most, they will disappear by mid-February. As a result, usually all the exercise machines (treadmills, ellipticals, bicycles, and so forth) are in high demand, therefore I can’t use a particular machine for more than an hour, tops. On Wednesday, though, they WEREN’T busy, and I was struck with the idea that I could try for a long run. So I did!! 5.3 miles in 1:19 (14:54 pace). I am incredibly pleased with this.

I followed that on Friday with a 2.65 mile run in 35 minutes (13:12 pace). I’m incredibly pleased with this also- it’s not as many miles but it’s a far better pace. However, I’m frustrated by the boredom of running on the treadmill, particularly when I’m just running (not breaking up my runs with segments of walking). It gets just oh so boring, and I have to fight fight fight to continue running! This mileage- 2.65 miles- is about the max that my brain can handle without a break. I hope I can continue to improve like this, though. I definitely want my pace to be much better!

post basketball follow up

Last week, I posted my views on team vs. individual sports in preparation for a visit to a basketball league that I *may* want to join.

First of all, the people at this basketball league couldn’t have been nicer. I felt welcomed and I enjoyed being with them.

However, I remember now why I hated  basketball when I was younger! I am not the most coordinated person, so it’s a challenge to remain light on my feet while also catching, passing, and shooting a basketball with my hands. I am not the most aggressive person, so it’s hard for me to “attack” the ball or steal it from other players. But most of all, I really dislike running back and forth across the court, at 100% effort! I run one direction, and I’ve barely made it to the other side before I have to turn around and run in the other direction. And of course, you have to be fast, because you have to be the first one to get there so that you will be the first to catch the rebound.

It’s not that teams are awful, but I like standing on my own (in a manner of speaking) in a foot race. When I’m running, I “partition” my energy by only running at a fraction of my effort, which in turn enables me to run farther. Also, running and then stopping and running again is a classic interval, which is fine for occasional training but not something I enjoy every day!

So, I’m not joining the basketball league. I’m focusing on running with the goal of a half marathon this spring. Perhaps another half marathon at the beginning of summer. Perhaps also a marathon in the fall. Perhaps more 5ks, 10ks, personal records- who knows?

team vs. individual sports

I have never really been a fan of team sports. I suppose that’s just my personality. When I was in high school, I played tennis. After high school, I swam to stay fit. Today, I opt for running- all individual sports

When I was VERY young, I was on a basketball team for two years. Lemme tell you, I STUNK. I was 9-10 years old at that time. I was the shortest person on the team. I wore geeky glasses that stayed on my face with a dorky glasses strap. My feet were the only part of my body that had grown, so I tripped over those feet a lot. I was very blessed to have a good coach who put me (along with EVERYONE on the team) in the game at least one or two quarters of the game, but it was pretty rare for my teammates to pass the ball to me- and there was a good reason, because I never scored points. Literally. In those two years, I scored two points- each year, my coach put me in to shoot a free throw on a technical foul, and each year I scored one point from one of those technical-foul-free-throws.

I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for me- just stating the facts. I really stunk back then. Those issues evened out- I had a growth spurt in junior high, I switched to contact lenses, the rest of my body caught up with my feet. I just know that I stunk back then!

Anyway, in the past few months I have been between churches. In September I left a church that I had been a part of for 20 years. I don’t miss that church a bit- there were some major changes that occurred in the last few months that made it clear that I needed to be gone. For the past few weeks I have been visiting a particular church in Kansas City, and this particular church is organizing an adult basketball league for the spring.

Right now, thanks to all the running I’ve been doing in the past few months, I am in the best shape of my life so far. Much as I dislike team sports, I think all sports are a great way to get to know people. So, when I heard they were organizing a basketball league- well, I considered it. I am open to the possibility.

Tonight, I am going to a “practice session” where I will be able to get more information on the league. I still don’t know if I want to join. Meeting a whole bunch of new people is intimidating enough as is. I don’t have a lot of confidence in my basketball abilities. But this could be a good way to meet people. I’ll let you know how it goes!

my first-ever spin class

This morning, I got out of bed early and went to a spin class at 5:30 am. This class was taught by the same gal who teaches the yoga classes I love, and since I missed yoga earlier this week (due to the snow), I figured this would be a good time to try the cycling/spinning class.

I’m still processing a lot of the experience. I really enjoyed the class and got a great workout. I was surprised by how the time passed- one reason I never previously took a spin class is because I thought it would be boring, and people only took spin classes so they could hang out with their friends. I suppose the latter is somewhat true, but the time flew past more quickly than I’d expected.

My muscles took a real beating, but in a good way. My legs are still a bit tired but I’m pleased with the quality of this workout.

The teacher played loud music, which didn’t really bother me but was definitely different from the yoga classes. At yoga, she plays music but it’s a bit more subdued. Here, it was more in-your-face. The songs were pretty good- the type of things you’d hear on the Top 40. All I remember was “Eye of the Tiger” (which I really liked) and something by Justin Timberlake.

The actual workout was fantastic, but at the same time, nothing special. What I mean is, I could have done this on my own (at least in theory) on any of the stationery bikes in the gym. I suppose that’s true of almost any of the exercise classes- at least in theory, you can do that stuff on your own- though I enjoy having someone to help guide me through the poses in the yoga class. Even with spinning, though, it’s nice to have a teacher who is cheering you on. There’s also benefits, I think, to having a scheduled time for your workout, which is what you get with a class like this.

Now here’s my real quandary: As long as I’m training for a half marathon in the spring, I will be training, and this will obviously count as cross training. Tuesday yoga classes will also be cross training. But if I have cross training twice a week, and I should be running 3-4 times a week… do I also need to include strength training? That is mostly an issue of time- if I do yoga AND spinning, I will have to add strength training, and that just turns into “how many hours per week can I spend at the gym”. Exercise is important, but I also have to include time for sleeping, working, and relaxing. I don’t have an answer to that yet, and I suppose this will just have to be something that works itself out over the next few weeks!

yesterday, a revelation

Yesterday afternoon, I managed to squeeze in some time to run. It was great- I was talking to a few of my runner friends on Twitter, which reminded me that I hadn’t worked out in a week, and I thought, hm, I should go for a run this afternoon. So I did!

I went to the gym, of course- the temps were LOW and I don’t have adequate cold weather running gear for that! After I warmed up, I cranked the treadmill up to 6mph (10:00 pace). Since I ran that pace earlier this year, I figured I would do it again.

Well, I paid for that week off. When I ran 6mph earlier this year, even then, it was a stretch- I could do it but after about 9 minutes, I was barely hanging on. Yesterday, after a half mile (5 minutes), I was done in. I slowed down to a walk and recovered.

But then, I had my revelation. After I’d walked a few minutes, I increased my pace, but this time I only increased it to 5mph (12:00 pace). And for a couple of minutes, it felt SLOW.

I know this probably doesn’t make sense to most of you, but for me, this is huge. Up until now, I’ve had zero pacing ability. My running pace was only slightly faster than my walking pace. Now, I still don’t really have any pacing ability away from the treadmill. I still need to practice pacing without having a belt beneath me to choose my speed. And you know, even after a few minutes at 5mph, I still got tired. But for just a few minutes, I felt like I was running slowly- like I still had it in me to go faster.

And that’s just pretty cool.