Tag Archives: iamnotafitnessfreak

Put Your Muscles Where Your Mouth Is

Yesterday my six week CrossFit challenge came to a close. It was a bittersweet day because, although we were happy to have made it all the way through the course, we were sad about our weekly meetings coming to an end. Much as I suspected, I am not the only one who enjoyed working with the same group of ladies each time I went to class.

The six weeks went by quickly and, as I looked around the gym while we were doing our last WOD (Workout of the Day) together, I was surprised and impressed by how far we had all come in such a short amount of time. Everybody looked stronger, we knew the names of the movements we were supposed to be doing (a big improvement for sure; at many times during the six weeks I felt sorry for our instructors- it must have felt like herding cats trying to get us all going the right direction!), and, most impressive of all, nobody was complaining. Having a group of women, who two months ago would not have described themselves as particularly fit or at all CrossFit savvy, working together on a hot, Hawaiian Saturday afternoon and not hearing any complaints about the aches, pains, and sweat is a big accomplishment!

Our final WOD; do you hear the Eye of the Tiger theme from ‘Rocky’ playing?

Our final workout was a team workout, so, while we didn’t do all of the movements on our own, we did all do the 2 burpees every minute on the minute, and that counts for something, right? As a team, we managed to get through almost three rounds (we had just goblet squats and burpees left to power through, c’est la vie) and, I’m ashamed to admit, that when I first looked at the whiteboard and saw the 20 minute cap, I was concerned we wouldn’t make it through one entire round. Essentially what I am trying to tell you is that this group of ladies and I are a bunch of badass mofos and, when there are tacos at stake, we don’t play around.

Our final WOD was followed by a Taco Tuesday (on Saturday) themed fiesta, and it was well-deserved. No matter where we started from, we all worked hard to make ourselves just a little bit better each time we stepped into the gym. Using the guidance provided through the daily emails, we each tried to find a way to eat more healthfully, and, even from day to day, I could see physical improvement in all of us. There were ladies who couldn’t run the entire 400 m warm-up run on day one, and, by the time we were up to running a mile, Coach Gil said it was the first time he had ever had all participants in the New You group finish in under thirteen minutes. Progress! The first time I tried to do an overhead squat holding just the light PVC practice bar, my shoulders and hips were so stiff I almost fell over, and now I can do them, tentatively, with 25 lbs of total weight. Tentative progress, but progress all the same!

Kettlebell swings. To demonstrate how much I’ve learned, I knew to ask if we were supposed to be doing American or Russian style swings.

I’m excited to see how CrossFit will influence my running (yeah, I signed up to continue. That’s how it is with me, I guess; I sign up for things like this thinking it will be a fun, one-off experiment and I’ll have a funny story to tell about that time I trained for a marathon or that time I did several weeks of CrossFit, but then I really enjoy what I’m doing and see changes in myself that I really like and I’m hooked.) In the short-term, the workouts have made me very tired, but I think that is to be expected as my body adjusts to being challenged in a new way (challenged, tortured, po-tay-to, po-tah-to). I think CrossFit will be good at countering the stiffness that running, just by the nature of the fact that your body is always moving the same way, inherently creates. This must be why so many runners I know also like to compete in triathlons because the swimming and the biking force you to do something a little different, but I’m afraid of sharks and I don’t like to put my face in public pools because they are gross, so triathlons seem to be out for me. Also I think that people would laugh at my cruiser if I tried to ride it in a race. So, CrossFit it is, for now.

I think, in the long run, it will help my running. With a stronger core and more balanced strength, I predict that my endurance will increase and I will maybe even become a little faster. Time will tell. I don’t know if I will see these kinds of results in the upcoming Hapalua half-marathon (ummmm…..it’s next Sunday! One week!) because I am so flippin’ tired, but, I am going to take it a bit easier this week to allow my muscles some rest. Of course, it’s also time to start eating some extra carbohydrates- music to my ears; bring on the pasta! Last year I ran this race in about 2:05, and this year I hope to run it in under 2:00. After my fantastic marathon, I thought that this was a pretty achievable goal, but I’m starting to have doubts. I will be happy to knock any time off of last year’s race, and ultimately hope that I don’t add time, but if I’ve learned anything from having trained for two marathons and, now, three half-marathons, it’s that every day is different, and you’ve got to run the best you can in the moment. Here’s hoping my newly-found CrossFit muscles feel revived and ready to help power me on after a week of rest!

CrossFit: it’ll put hair on your lip!
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Stayin’ Alive

 

View from the gym. Makes it easier to play through the pain when you’re looking at this.

Yes! More than halfway through my CrossFit ‘experiment’ and I’m still standing.

I’m really enjoying the class and am learning quite a bit about CrossFit. Mostly I’m learning that it really IS as hard as it looks and that I really like working out with only ladies. There is something so liberating about showing up at the gym and knowing that nobody is going to be impatiently waiting for me to relinquish the barbell or be silently judging the (lack of) weight I’m lifting; these ladies, like me, have nothing to prove. I’ve heard the same sentiment expressed by others in our group; we’d all like to continue with the ‘ole XFit (is that a thing? like Xtina?), but we’d like to continue with just ladies. Can it be ladies night every night, please?

This CrossFit program has us meeting three or four days a week for an hour long estrogen-fueled sweat sesh. Most days, we start with a short run to warm-up (ahem, I ran my fastest mile on Saturday, 7:35, no big deal [brushes off shoulders]) which everybody but me seems to dread, but I like it because it’s the only part of the class where I feel like I know what I’m doing. Then, we move on to going over the day’s class goal which is usually learning some new movement, like a clean or toes to bar, etc., and we finish the day with a Workout of the Day (WOD for short, CrossFit is so hip that even the workouts get nicknames) that focuses on whatever the day’s skill was. It’s a pretty simple format.

We’re learning the correct form for lots of types of lifts and movements; they all look pretty straightforward when I watch the coaches demonstrate, but, man, I’ve never felt so uncoordinated as when I’m trying to follow their lead. It’s kind of like dancing, which I’m also not very good at, but I don’t let my lack of natural talent stop me from enjoying myself. So far we’ve learned how to jerk, snatch, clean, squat, toes to bar, pull-up, and burpee. Soooooo….many…..burpeeeeesssss.

We burpee if we show up to class late. We burpee if someone misses class. We burpee if we forget someone’s name. We burpee if we row under or over our rowing goal. We burpee if we’re bored. We burpee if we’re tired. We burpee if we’re hungry. Essentially, we burpee for the heck of it. It seems that, much like my parents’ telling me to “go play outside” whenever I started to annoy them as a child, the coaches instruct us to burpee as a diversion technique. I will admit it is pretty effective and they say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but I’m not sure if “they” ever did a burpee.

I’m not supposed to eat this.

Part of this program focuses on our diet. We are supposed to be eliminating processed sugar (even maple syrup,  which, since I’m from VT, is essentially a food group) and eating more protein and healthy fats. While I haven’t cut out sugar completely, I have almost done so (as an aside, tea without honey is hardly worth drinking), and I am surprised by the difference I see and feel. Swapping sugars for more protein and healthy fats has made me less inclined to snack throughout the day, and I feel like I have more energy in general. I’ll admit that, as a vegetarian, I’ve found it nearly impossible to completely forgo bread and I’m probably eating more starchy grains, like rice, than I’m supposed to be eating, but, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to maintain her sanity

The first week of the program, I cut sugar out completely, and, after a mini-meltdown when Don asked if I wanted to grab lunch at our favorite restaurant, which serves mainly sandwiches, decided that it wasn’t going to be possible for me to both completely eliminate sugar and maintain my status as a functioning member of society. By the end of the week, tired of hard boiled eggs and avocados, I found myself spinning around the kitchen like a whirling dervish trying to find an afternoon snack, cursing my vegetarianism as I imagined my classmates eating grilled chicken. I was probably one paleo recipe away from spending my afternoons crying into a bag of marshmallows; at Don’s recommendation, I began to allow myself the simple luxury of bread and feel much better now.

So far, this has been a great experience, and I’d like to continue pursuing my dreams of CrossFit competency after the New You program ends. I get a good vibe from the other gym goers and the coaching staff is friendly, knowledgeable and chill. My personal favorite is a gal named Coach Tiff because her whole “thang” is essentially my life goal. She seems really happy to be at the gym, even if she is spending much of her time helping a bunch of sweaty newbies adjust their form, and she is so fit that she looks like how I imagine look when I’m dreaming. That level of fitness takes a lot of dedication, and I admire that. I’m sure, since I’m doing this program and all, that I’ll look like Coach Tiff in a few weeks; thats how this fitness thing works, right?

Getting to the Starting Line

Running over the Pali to town a few weeks ago. I live in Fern Gully. (photo cred to Mike Flartey of Windward Endurance Training)
Running over the Pali to town a few weeks ago. I live in Fern Gully. (photo cred to Mike Flartey of Windward Endurance Training)

This Sunday’s run was much easier to endure than the last one because the trade winds have returned to our island and have blown the oppressive heat and humidity away- hopefully far, far away. Technically this week’s long run was supposed to be more challenging than the previous week’s because it was longer (only a little, it didn’t quite end up being 18 miles) and had more hills, but the temperature drop made all the difference for me.

I think, with the extra loop my running buddy Mel and I walked at the end of our run, that we ended up going just under 17 miles on Sunday. This weekend, we will tackle our longest run before the marathon- 20 miles!- and I’m shaking in my sneakers at the thought of it. I think the scariest thing about these really long runs is the sense of the unknown. Each time we jump in distance, I worry that it will be too much for me and I won’t be able to finish. I wasn’t sure I could actually run for 10 miles before I did it, and now that I have done it, I have that sense of accomplishment as reassurance when I feel too tired to continue, but I don’t have that reassurance when we increase our distance. I find that lack a little bit exciting because it feels good to conquer new challenges and a lot terrifying because- what if I really can’t run that far?.

20 miles is a long, long way to run, and the marathon is even longer. I’m nervous that our longest training run still falls 6.2 miles short of the final destination because I feel like a lot can happen in 6.2 miles, but I also understand that it is important to not overdo it while training and if you’re going to get within 6 miles of running a marathon, you might as well just run the whole damn thing-  let’s face it, I’m not going to do that unless I’m getting a medal, a t-shirt, and free doughnuts.

I know that at the end of our 20 mile training run, I’m going to feel tired. I’m going to feel sore. I’m going to think that I hate running and it was stupid to even sign up for a marathon when the farthest I’d ever run before was 6.2 miles and that felt really REALLY hard to do and why would I ever think that running an extra 20 miles on top of the 6.2 that were really REALLY hard to do was a good idea for me because I hate running, and I’m tired and sore, and I’m really, REALLY not a fitness freak.

I know this because it is how I’ve felt at the end of every run longer than 6.2 miles- I’ve been both delighted to have finished and also filled with doubt about my ability to go farther and actually accomplish this goal of running a marathon, but I’m doing it. So far, I have been able to answer the challenges put in front of me, and I may not be fast, I may get a red tomato face 5 miles in, and I may be wearing a dorky water bottle belt, but I’m doing it and I’m getting faster and less tomato-faced with every run (there is no cure for the dorkiness of the water bottle belt, I’m afraid. C’est la vie.). So, I guess, bring it, 20 miles; show me what you’ve got. (I really hope what you’ve got is friendly and gentle and accompanied by temperatures in the 70s with a light breeze and slightly overcast skies).

holeIn addition to my first run longer than 16 miles, I reached another milestone on Sunday- I got a hole in my sneakers. It’s not that I’ve never worn a pair of sneakers until they had holes before- anyone who’s  known me since my early twenties knows that I will wear an article of clothing (shoes included) until it is more hole than article of clothing- but I’ve never worn a hole in my shoes by RUNNING in them. It’s only a small hole in the toe of my left sneaker made, probably, by my big toe pressing against the fabric, but it’s there and I made it by running.

I’m nervous the hole will continue to grow, so I headed to Be Fit to get a back-up pair on Monday so that they could be properly broken in before the big day. I bought the same shoe, the Topo Fli-Lyte. I really do love them and I think that, at this stage in the game, the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is probably a good one to live by. While my feet and knees are a little sore the afternoon after a long morning run, I don’t think that is an unexpected experience when regularly running double-digit miles, and I usually don’t feel any residual soreness the following day. I’m going to stick with what seems to be working: plenty of water, lots of stretching, and my trusty Topo sneaks. That starting line is getting closer with each day.

There's a new shoe in town... same great sneaker, different color.
There’s a new shoe in town… same great sneaker, different color.

 

Say it aint’ so! Ten miles is a long way to go!

Tomorrow Don and I will embark on our first 10 mile run.

I am both terrified and excited about the prospect of our first double-digit distance. It seems like such an important benchmark in running, and, while I know it will be hot and tiring and hard, I think I can do it. Had I considered the prospect even two months ago, I think I would have felt otherwise. Joining the running group has not only given me more insight into training, but it also provides me with a support system for when I feel like I couldn’t possibly take another step even if there was a yellow cake with chocolate frosting sitting juuuust out of reach.

So much of running, for me, is mental, and if I can talk myself out of taking too many walking breaks or ducking out early into the sanctuary of my air-conditioned car, I can claim victory. Seeing the other runners in our group struggling (or not struggling) with these same things puts my fatigue into perspective and makes it easier for me to talk myself out of quitting. The people who I draw the most inspiration from are Terry, a man who just celebrated his 70th birthday on Monday (yup, 70, as in seven decades of life!), and the handful of “real” runners who make running look like a breeze but offer the same complaints- being tired and out of breath at the end of a run, dreading the big hill in the middle of the run, and really looking forward to seeing Cheryl’s car along the way- as I do.*

Terry is living proof that a life of physical activity keeps you young and healthy (I would have guessed he was in his early 60s), and those “real” runners remind me that even when you train hard and are super fit, running still kinda sucks. While this may not seem all that inspirational, it puts into perspective that the burning in my legs and lungs and the sweat blinding my eyes are simply a part of running and I can either let them deter me from accomplishing a goal I have set or I can power through and make it to the end.

The old saying misery loves company has never been more true than when applied to a running group. The camaraderie that develops between people who are sharing the same pain on the way to a common goal is essential to our success as a group and individually. Some of our stronger runners, including our fearless leaders Mike and Kelly, will be absent from our 10 miler this weekend because they are competing at the Hana Relay on Maui (a 52 mile relay race- yikes! I’d join if a team could have 52 runners, but, sadly, a team is only allowed 6). At first, I was worried this would mean that it would just be Don and I doing our 10 miles together- which would really mean that it would be the two of us for about a mile, and then I wouldn’t see him again until I made it back to the car- but the rest of us have banded together to make sure we don’t have to go it alone.

My plan for tomorrow is slow and steady (when isn’t this my plan? It has been my life mantra since I first formed a coherent thought!). With all of the training we have done, my pace has been picking up a bit, but with the help of my heart rate monitor, I’m going to find a pace that seems maintainable (driving my car with the AC on full blast seems the most maintainable, but I think my teammates would frown upon that… unless I offered them a ride), and not worry about time. Don is hoping to finish in time to catch the Chargers game, so I’ll do what I can, but he could always pick me up after the game since it might take me that long to run ten miles!

Our long run last Sunday was about 7 miles (although there were discrepancies between the various gps and pedometer devices some of us use, so it was somewhere in between 6 and 7 miles and since I like to err on the side of giving myself more credit than I deserve, I’m calling it 7). We ran a loop that gave us beautiful views of Kaneohe Bay and the mountains surrounding it and then out to He’eia Pier for some more beautiful views of mountains and water. I need to find a way to bring my phone with me on runs so that I can capture some of the spectacular scenery that makes them extra worthwhile. Mike seems to be especially adept at finding scenic routes for our long runs, and this, many of us have agreed, allows us a little distraction from the heat and fatigue we feel along the way.

Sunday’s run was not my best. Don and I had some friends from Germany visiting, so, instead of eating a balanced dinner, drinking extra water and having an early bedtime, we ate guacamole by the fistful, washed it down with some beers, and stayed out later than we intended to on Saturday night. I knew that I would not be at the top of my game, but the important thing is that I still completed my run. It was definitely a “mind over matter” situation with the hardest part being when we ran past our cars on the way out to the pier- There they sat! Little metal boxes promising climate control and an escape from our suffering!- but the extra work required to make it to the end made victory that much sweeter.

Wish me luck on tomorrow’s 10 miler! I’m certainly going to need it!

*Cheryl is Terry’s wife, and she parks somewhere along the route of our longer runs and lugs around a cooler filled with ice-cold water and Gatorade. I’ve never seen a more beautiful site than the open hatch of Cheryl’s trunk, and Cheryl, arm extended, offering a cold jewel-in-beverage-form to us tired runners from her treasure chest.

Getting Closer!

I’m getting closer to my running goal of 6.2 miles in both calendar time and number of miles that I can now run (ok, jog) consecutively and the time it takes me to run (yes, yes, JOG) those miles is getting shorter.

Last weekend, we spent several days in Paris and the day before we left, I ran 5 miles in about an hour. I ran on a trail that I often use for dog walking because it has a few places where you can turn one direction to make the trail longer or another direction to make it shorter, and it brings me in a loop back to my house. I love this trail for several reasons; its adjustability allows me to slowly add distance to my runs while still guaranteeing that I can find my way home, the steepest, longest hill comes right at the beginning of my run so that I can tackle it while I’m still feeling fresh and not cursing myself for leaving the comfort of my couch, and, most importantly, the fact that it is a loop means that I don’t have to turn around and run past the same scenery I just passed. The loop factor may be the most important to me; I find it very frustrating to do what I call an “out and back” run. Not only do you have the redundant scenery but you also run the risk of passing the same people more than once which is terrible.

When I’m jogging past people on the sidewalk at the beginning of my run and my face is still flesh colored and my clothes are not yet sweat-soaked, I don’t want them to know that I’ve just started my workout. I’d like them to think that I’ve been running for hours and that I’m so fit I don’t break a sweat before mile 20. Conversely, when I’m well into my run and my face is ketchup-colored and my clothes are so sweaty I look like I’ve run through the car wash, I don’t want people to remember me having passed them  doing my warm-up walk 5 minutes prior and realize that I actually haven’t been running for very long. The loop is the best solution to both these problems; not only do I get new things to look at with every step, but the only way I’ll encounter the same people twice is if we are running on the same route and I pass them- which is never going to happen.

Me, at mile….ehm….three.

The first time I ran the loop was also my first solo outside run and it was a very rare brilliantly sunny day. I took enough turns to make the loop about 4.25 miles long and felt great as I chugged up and down the hills of the bike path with the sun glinting off the snow, and I think I finally realized why some people (not me of course) actually enjoy running. When I made the loop 5 miles, it was a normal dreary grey day and my run felt more like work, but I was still left with a feeling of accomplishment when I realized that I had done my 5 miles in about 60 minutes. To reach my goal I would have only had to run another 1.2 miles in 15 minutes. You may be wondering, as was Don, why I didn’t just suck it up and hammer out the last 1.2 miles, and the only answer I have is that I just didn’t feel like it.

While I am still not yet ready to profess an undying love for the sport of running, I am enjoying myself as I work toward my goal. It is kind of fun to have a training plan, put it into effect, and see how it helps me progress, and I’m not ready to wrap it up yet. I’ve given myself until the end of March to make my goal of running 6.2 miles in under 75 minutes, and while I might do it a little earlier, I think I’d like to take my time.

What I’m learning from following a training program (I went with Hal Higdon’s with some modifications about when my rest day falls and what distances I’m running) is that it is possible to learn how to run. I would consider myself the most non-runner-y runner you could meet, but I’m seeing progress in my speed, endurance, and, dare I say, enjoyment of running. I think, like many people, I assumed that running is something that we should naturally know how to do and enjoy doing (we are, after all, animals), and when I tried running and was super slow and got winded before I’d gone 10 yards, I assumed that I’d somehow missed the running gene, but that is not the case. Like anything, running takes practice. You have to prepare yourself to be faster and run farther and, like any other sport, you have to learn the proper technique to avoid injury. I’m finding inspiration in my progress and I’m having fun on my runs in the great outdoors, although I’m still convinced that the best part of any run is the moment you take your sneakers off and collapse on the living room floor.

Another Half-Mile Closer

Just keep jogging, just keep jogging…jogging…jogging…jogging

After I recovered from last week’s run with KiKi, it dawned on me that, at 3.5 miles, I was only two more laps around the city away from my goal of 6.2 miles. Actually, at 1.75 miles per lap, I was less than two laps away, but it is much easier for me to exaggerate the amount of work still left to do and then be pleasantly surprised when it is less than I imagined. I’m sure I’m not the only one who uses this little trick.

When I realized, as I luxuriated in the comfort of my couch, that I was less than two laps away from my goal, I also realized that I wouldn’t have been able to run those laps unless given a good reason like a bear chasing after me. Although since the route we ran took us past a bakery, even a bear chasing me wouldn’t have been a solid reason to run another 2.7 miles; instead, I would most likely have run as far as the bakery and ducked in to buy the hungry bear a tray of donuts. Even a bear could see that a tray of warm jelly donuts was a better option than a sweaty lady who may or may not have remembered to apply deodorant before embarking on her run.

Because I love waking up early on a Saturday morning and testing the capacity of my lungs in the cold January air (I know, my sarcasm is so subtle it is almost an art form), I signed up for another run in the great outdoors with my favorite Fitness Freak, KiKi. Since we had a winter storm on Friday, the ice and snow made us expand our loop so that two times around equalled 4 miles.

Yesterday I wasn’t feeling the run, but I made myself go anyway, and, even though at some points KiKi was just a tiny teal speck in the distance, and at times my legs felt like two limp sausages, and once in a while it seemed like my lungs had imploded, I was glad that I did it. Okay, maybe somewhere in the middle as I skidded on on unseen patch of ice or when secondhand smoke from an elderly man walking in the MIDDLE of the path instigated a coughing fit I regretted the fact that I wasn’t cocooned on my couch eating cereal and catching up on The Mindy Project, but at the end of it all, I was glad that I had done it.

Today I was extra glad that I had done it yesterday because it meant that I didn’t need to run today! I believe this is what they call ‘winning.’ Another win is that by running 4 miles,  I burned enough calories to warrant treating myself to a Cadbury Creme Egg. Treat ‘yo self!

 

(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?

 

 

Yoga with Adrienne

I thought I’d share this quick little yoga workout video with you all. I’ve subscribed to ‘Yoga with Adrienne’ on YouTube and have found her videos to be PERFECT for days when I’ve backed myself into a corner schedule-wise and do not have time to drive to the gym, workout, shower, and drive to wherever I next need to be, or for days, like today, when I’m a little under the weather (’tis the season for sneezin’, am I right?) and want to move my body without straining my poor ‘ole mucus-filled lungs. She has videos for all skill-levels and ambitions, but I chose this particular one to share with you because not only is it the one I most recently completed, but, at the end, Adrienne wraps up with a move I thought that I had created… apparently not! Anyway, enjoy this video and definitely check out Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube if you do- it’s a great way to get in a nice stretchy-body workout without getting your cold cooties all over everything at the gym.