Monthly Archives: January 2015

High Mileage

My legs are going to fall off.

This week I stepped up my running mileage a bit and actually ventured out of the comfort zone of my favorite treadmill at the gym to run in the fresh air. Against my better judgement, I joined my friend Kiki for an outside run this morning; when she texted to ask if I wanted to join her for an “easy, 3-4 mile, nothing crazy recovery run,” my first thought was to reply “NO.”

I have nothing against Kiki. She is a wonderful person and I enjoy spending time with her, but Kiki is afflicted with the condition of being a Fitness Freak. She likes running, she enjoys feelin’ the burn at the gym, She has been a model for SHAPE magazine, she has run Ultra Marathons*, and you know there is something a little suspect about someone who runs 3-4 miles on her rest day. On my rest day, I’m lucky if I walk downstairs to do my laundry.

Although I liked the idea of having a running buddy, the thought of trying to keep up with a Fitness Freak made me want to barf and curl up in the fetal position, but I also recognized that this could be a valuable learning experience and it was. I learned things like: I hate hills, it is possible to be cold and hot all at the same time, one nose can produce enough snot to soak through a pair of mittens- front and back, and jogging past a bakery is a twisted form of torture. I also learned that having a change of scenery keeps your run fresh, the different terrain presents you with a variety of challenges, and running alongside (ahem, or slightly behind) someone who has actual running talent can encourage you to step up your game a little.

In the end, we ran about 3.5 miles which is the longest I’ve ever run not on a treadmill (I know, I know, pathetic! Don’t judge me), and, although I wanted to quit halfway through, I didn’t. I’m glad I faced down the demons of my laziness and laced up my sneaks on a Saturday morning; this morning’s run reinforced my commitment to becoming more acclimated to running sans t-mill and I’m considering anchoring myself to Kiki for another run sometime in the future (a big slow anchor weighing down her sprightly steps). The only real disappointment of my day happened after we bid each other adieu and headed our separate ways when I glanced back over my shoulder as I began my trudge home and saw that she was sprinting, not walking, to her house. If Fitness Freak-dom is contagious, I guess it can’t be caught upon first exposure. I’ll have to try again.

How I feel when I think about running:

*Until I read the book “Be a Better Runner,” I wasn’t clear on what exactly an Ultra Marathon was. It is a 50 to 100 mile race. Run on foot. Your own feet. Somebody give me a barf bag, please.

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(Educational) Movie Night!

At the end of last week, I relayed to Kim at the Wellness Center my new (and tangible) goal of running the distance of a 10k (6.2-ish miles) in less than seventy-five minutes and she gave my goal two thumbs up. Time is such a relative thing; when I was in high school, our classes were seventy minutes long and, in that context, the amount of time seemed endless, but I have a feeling that seventy-five minutes will seem all too brief when I am trying to cram 6.2 miles of running into them. I have given myself the timeline of until the end of March to complete this goal, so this week, the work began.

Since I’m so fond of running (insert sarcastic eye roll here) and it seems that there isn’t a way to train to run faster and farther without actually running, I took this week to get myself comfortable with the idea of hitting the treadmill more than once a week, and, in doing so, came to the realization that it may actually take another week to get completely comfortable with that idea. In the meantime, I’m comparing some 10k training regimes that I’ve gathered online (if anyone out there has any advice, I’m all ears!), and adapting them to make one that I truly love that will both turn me into a super runner and allow me to continue to train with weights so that my non-running muscles don’t feel neglected.

This week, along with the amped-up running, I also (against my better judgement) accompanied Don to the gym a couple of times for some torture good ‘ole fashioned gym buddy time. By Thursday afternoon, my shoulders, back, abs, arms and legs- basically any part of my body involved in movement- were sore and by yesterday (rest day! can you hear the angels singing?), I was more than ready for a day off.

When I was at the Wellness Center last week, I rummaged through the stack of DVDs they play on the TV in their waiting room and placed orders for the ones I haven’t yet seen through my library. These are the kinds of movies that are aimed at educating us about the benefits of a heathy lifestyle, and they quite effectively play on my fear of an early death to get their point across. In the past, I’ve seen ‘Hungry for Change‘ and ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead,’ and last night I watched ‘Forks Over Knives.’ If your resolve is in need of strengthening, any of these movies will do it for you! Out of the three movies I’ve already seen (three more are on their way), ‘Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead’ is the one that I found the easiest to relate to, but if you can get your hands on any of these movies, it’s worth your time. I think I will do a movies-that-motivate-you-to-eat-veggies-and-get-your-ass-off-the-couch review sometime in the near future so that you know a little more about what you are getting yourself into when you watch these.

This week, I’m going to continue to step up my running and start to follow a 10k training program. I have another fitness test scheduled on Friday so that I can get a better idea of what heart rates to aim for when I’m training so that I am improving my stamina and my VO2 volume and can more effectively design a 10k program to meet my needs. Even though I’m getting al science-y and starting to “train” for a specific fitness goal, I’d like to remind you that I am not a fitness freak. I don’t loathe exercise the way I used to, but I still hate that it makes me red-faced and sweaty, I hate that my hair sticks to my neck and face, I hate it when my lungs are on fire and my legs turn to jell-o, and I still hold on tightly to my assertion that the best part of a workout is the moment when you finally step out of your sneakers and into the shower.

 

 

It’s 2015: time to pick up the pace

 

10 K-2We’re three days into the new year, and I’ll bet you are just as tired as I am of thinking/hearing/talking about resolutions. There is something a little self-help-y about resolving to better yourself in some way, and it can be hard to find a resolution  that doesn’t make you feel like a big ole’ cliché (Oh, wow, you’d like to lose weight this year, how original…). Cliché or not, resolving for fitness, healthier eating, or overall wellness is never a bad idea, and if it takes a calendar reset to get you started, carpe diem, my friends!

The last time I met with my Fitness Coach, Kim, before the holidays, she asked me to come up with some specific goals for our next meeting (which will happen this coming week). Up to this point, I had worked toward the vague goals of eating better, becoming more fit, and lowering my body fat percentage and my goals through the holidays were to keep finding ways to squeeze fitness in despite the gym’s shortened hours and my lengthened hours at work.

My goals have been pretty vague on purpose (because, ummmm… it is pretty easy to accomplish a vague goal), and, as scared as I am of making a specific goal (and not accomplishing it), I think Kim was right to demand it of me. I hate not succeeding at things, and I know that if I make a goal (a specific goal) there is a chance that I may not succeed, but, I’m going to have to ignore my anxieties and get down to brass tacks.

My newest goal/resolution for the new year is to run the distance of a 10k race in less than 75 minutes (I’ve googled average time for a 10k race and have come up with a range of 55-75 mins), and I’d like to do this by the end of March.

I’ll be looking to Kim for advice on how to do this, and I’ve also started reading a book called Be a Better Runner: Real world, scientifically-proven training techniques that will dramatically improve your speed, endurance and injury resistance that is written by a trio of runner athletes. I’ve just started reading this book, so I will hold off on giving it a thumbs up or thumbs down for the time being, but so far it seems as if it will be a good resource.

A 10k is about 6.2 miles and when I run, I usually run about 3 miles. My average pace is pretty slow (about 5.5 miles per hour), so I will need to work both on speed and endurance to accomplish this goal. I’ve chosen this as my goal because running is not only something I’d like to be better at simply for the sake of how convenient it is (no gym required!), but it is also the thing I struggle with most in my workouts.

I love the challenge of lifting, I can chug away on an elliptical at a respectable pace and with a respectable amount of resistance for hours, and the spin bike is the most fun I’ll ever have with exercise, but when running- I get a little lazy. Running gets too hard too fast and then I wimp out and let myself quit when I’m pretty sure I could keep at it if I dug down deep for some determination; I guess, as the saying goes, the time is now.

I’ve rung in the New Year, bid adieu to my holiday head cold/flu combo, and have set my sights on a specific goal thanks to a little urging from Kim. Now comes the hard part- the actual work of accomplishing the goal! Anyone out there have any interesting resolutions they’d like to share?