Thursday, May 14, 2009

Graduation, Personal Training, Women & Weights

Yesterday marked 1 month till the wedding. I can't believe it. I know this month is going to fly by. We're still getting RSVPs in each day, and some lovely gifts as well. My (almost) mom-in-law just mailed out rehearsal dinner invitations. It was fun to get an invitation to my own rehearsal! It is going to be great. Now I just have to find a dress....

Billy and I both graduated this past Saturday! Our families collaborated for a cookout/graduation party.
With the 'rents:
My fam minus my older brother who lives in Arlington:
and Melissa!


Now that graduation has passed, I am enjoying massive amounts of free time. I am officially starting my new job at the physical therapy clinic tomorrow, though, and will be working 9-5 for my first day (yikes!). From there on out, I will only be working around 25 hours a week. I definitely need to work more than that, so, starting July 1st, I will most likely be personal training at Fitness Together.
I am excited to train at Fitness Together versus any other gym because it really is a unique experience. The "gym" is really broken into 2 small, separate gyms. The trainer takes the client into one of the fully stocked "gym" rooms, where the client is trained one-on-one. There is no waiting for equipment or having other people watch you because you are the only ones in the room.
The only problem is, even though I have a Bachelor's in Exercise Science, the owner wants me to get my official certification. This isn't a real problem, because all I have to do is take the test, but I have to fork over a couple hundred dollars for the test. Kind of funny that 4 years of college in a related field isn't good enough, while passing a test that someone straight out of high school could take is! Plus, the state of VA doesn't even require certification to train. But, like I said, I really like the company's structure and the location is perfect because it's right down the street from my job at the physical therapy clinic.
Billy and I are insanely excited to be signing our lease to our new apartment next Friday. Billy will be living there alone till the wedding, and we'll get everything moved in. We are proud owners of a Tempur-Pedic mattress (thank you Grandma and Grandpa Beaumont!) and a Natuzzi leather couch, both of which we got fabulous deals on. We got the couch for $700 less than selling price, and the mattress for $600 less. I still don't really understand how either of those deals happened, but one thing I have learned about furniture shopping at privately owned stores: just ask, and you can work something out! I have my mom to thank for my bargaining skills.
Onto the Exercise:
Since I haven't posted in so long, I'm not going to write down each exercise session I've done, but I have been really enjoying my workouts. While I'm still running, I'm spending more energy on shorter interval/speed/hill runs of about 2 to 3 miles each, and incorporating about one "long" run of 5 or 6 miles a week. The speedwork really is shocking my body, and it's great! I've also been doing about 2 strength training sessions a week, and have increased my core work as well. I also bit the bullet and signed up for the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in September! Here we go again.
Have you ever tried interval training? Intervals can be done on virtually any cardio equipment (or on your own 2 feet outside!). Intervals are simply short bursts of speed followed by recovery at a moderate pace. For example, for my interval run on Tuesday, I used the treadmill to warm up at a moderate pace for 5 minutes. Then, I alternated 20 second sprints at 8.0 mph with 1 minute recovery at 6.0 mph. I repeated this for roughly 2o minutes, then cooled down at a moderate pace for 5 minutes. This quick, 30 minute segment packed in more muscle and cardiorespiratory challenge than an hour plus run at a moderate pace. Not only that, but intervals are exhilerating and break up the boredom and monotony of cardio. They're great for days when you need to get in and get out of the gym.
I'd like to add a little something from one of my favorite exercise books, The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler. This section deals with the confusion between women and weight lifting, because it's something I get asked about all the time. Women are afraid to lift heavier weights because they only want to "get toned."
"Weight-training advice for women revolves around what I call the three dirty words: toning, shaping, and sculpting.... The way 'toning' is used in books and magazines catering to women, and then by women themselves, it means 'make your muscles look better without making them bigger.' The idea is that there are specific types of workouts-usually involving lots of repetitions with light weights-that will help you acheive this. But that's not a realistic or healthy way to look at your muscles. If the weights are unchallenging, your muscles won't grow. If your muscles don't grow, they won't look any better than they do now, even if you could somehow strip off whatever fat sits on top of them."
"So this brings me to the fourth dirty word: 'bulky.' As in, 'I don't want to get too bulky.' I'll say this as simply as I can: Unless you're an extreme genetic outlier, you can't get too bulky. Your body won't allow it. "
And my favorite section:
"But here's something I've observed over my many years of hanging around in gyms: A woman who's willing to work like a galley slave in Spinning class, twist herself into Gordian knots in the yoga studio, and build enough core strength with Pilates to prop up a skyscraper will walk into the weight room, pick up the pastel-colored Barbie weights, and do the exact opposite of what will give her the results she wants."
He then goes on to discuss watching a woman do a triceps kickback, "a simply and useless exercise in which you lean over a bench, hold your upper arm parallel to the floor, and straighten your elbow while holding a very light weight," followed by a one-arm row "in which you lean over a bench with your upper arm perpendicular to the floor, and row the weight up to the side of your abdomen." While he explains how the rowing exercise uses many accessory muscles and targets the large muscle groups of the back, and the tricep kickback only uses the muscles of the back of the arm, the woman proceeded to use a 6 pound weight for the triceps kickback, and a 7 pound weight for the row! That's a mere 1 pound increase between a simple, single-joint exercise and an intricate, multi-joint exercise, when clearly larger muscle groups are equipped to handle heavier weights.
Ladies, your body is amazingly created and your muscles, especially the muscles of your back, are designed for strength. What a shame to ignore the potential you have for building strength to stay healthy, reduce or prevent pain, improve your posture, feel better, and help with activities of daily life, such as lifting kids and groceries, or to be so afraid of getting "bulky" as to not challenge yourselves in the weight room. Give it a shot!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

change and crosstrain

A month and a half till the wedding! I never thought we'd be at this point! It's felt so far away for so long. The RSVPs are still rolling in. I'm getting an alteration done on my dress this weekend (just a little one on the bustle). I've started stocking up on bathing suits and dresses for the honeymoon. Can't believe we'll be in Jamaica so soon....
I had my final day of work at the job that I've been at for 2 and a half years on Tuesday. I cried once I got in my car! I really loved that place and all the people in it...even the crazy patients.
Everyone decorated this mirror in the gym. If you look closely, you can see a runner girl (who I think looks like a ninja turtle) with a sparkly ring and flowers in my hands. Sounds like a perfect logo for this blog! And yes, that is my imposing hand taking the picture.
Just a few of the ladies I worked with. The 2nd to the left and the last on the right are physical therapists that I've learned so much from.

My good friend Maricel who is starting PT school this summer! Proud of her.


As sad as I was to leave, I'm pumped about my new job. I already started training and will officially start on May 15th. Here's a sneak peek into my new company! Take note of Justice, the therapy dog!
Onto the sweat:
Last week I took 3 rest days, not because I wanted to, but because school was insane and I wanted to be able to have a social life as well. I ran a total of 6 miles last week. A big dive from the 20-25 I've been running the past few months, but like I said I want to ease up on the miles this month and focus more on crosstraining. I did do 2 strength training sessions, had an exciting outdoor run with Billy and his roomies' dogs Mako and Bella, and went for a nice long bike ride.
This week I rested on Monday, and on Tuesday I met Joanna at the infamous Mount Trashmore for some 90 degree sweatin'. I was super nervous to run/exercise in the heat. We did a slow run around the mountain (mount? pile of trash with grass on top?), got some water, and repeated for a total of about 2 miles. Then we hit the stairs! I had Joanna pass on the stair running and run uphill on the grass and walk down the stairs instead for the sake of her knees. After I ran the stairs long enough to get suicidal, we did a couple more hills, then hit the kid's playground for some pull ups and hanging leg raises. I'll admit I felt a little creepy exercising in the playground in just a sports bra. In total, we probably ran about 3 miles.
Today Billy and I hit the student rec center gym (love it!). Warmed up with a quick mile run on the track, then did weights for a good long while. Finished with some sprint/jog intervals back on the track (hurt so good). Oh, and I succumbed to Billy's plea and played racquetball with him. You know I love any exercise challenge, but this...let's just say this must be the worst sport ever invented. I hated it! I tried to be a good sport and try my best, tried to pretend it was just tennis, but I couldn't get over thinking that racquetball would make a great torture device. Sorry Billy!
How are you getting your sweat on this week?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2:09!

Well I just realized it's been quite a few days since the race and I haven't updated the blog. That's what happens when it's finals time...graduation is sooo close.


The race was...great! Hard. Rewarding. I finished in 2:09, 8 minutes faster than the Shamrock. Here are some stats I got emailed to me afterwards:


Your time 2:09:22.99 gave you a 9:53 pace per mile.

Your 3M time was 29:09.62 for a pace of 9:43 per mile.

Your 6M time was 58:44.30 for a pace of 9:51 per mile.

Your 10M time was 1:38:13.99 for a pace of 9:52 per mile.

I was excited to realize I ran the whole distance under 10 minutes per mile! I can run a lot faster for shorter distances, but tend to hit 10 minute miles tops for long runs. It's interesting to see how my pace slowed slightly as I neared the end.



My day started with a 4:30 am wakeup call. Yikes! I had breakfast, got ready, and woke up Billy (he stayed at my parents) to drive me out to the Dismal Swamp. People, I never go to the Dismal Swamp. What a name! It took us about a half hour to get there (would have taken much longer if it hadn't been so horribly early on a Saturday morning).


We met up with my friend Brittany and one of her friends, and spotted some friends from church as well. I was getting pretty nervous before the start because I didn't know how my stomach would react to the long run...especially since my training had been going pretty rough. I am thankful to say that my stomach cooperated! I did, however, get a random side stitch that threatened to explode the whole run, but I did my best to ignore it.


Brittany and I ran at the same pace--I wanted to slow down at a couple of points, and even stopped to walk for a second when my side stitch burst open and hurt so bad at--get this--mile 12! One stupid mile from the end. She was a great motivator and wouldn't let me stop, which I was not too happy with at the time but am grateful for now that I look back!

I will say that I make it a point to pray during my runs. In this case, I really wanted to throw in the towel the last 3 miles. I told God that He can move mountains, and to please give me some of His strength, that I couldn't do it alone but could only finish with His help. This may sound dramatic to some, but it's really mentally and physically exhausting to know that you have no choice but to finish what you started, and you better find some way to figure out how to do it. It made me feel a heck of a lot better and stronger to know that I didn't have to do it on my own.


Other race mishaps include me grabbing a pack of carbohydrate gel around mile 10. I struggled to get the thing open and managed to get it to explode all over my hands. I ran the remaining 3.1 miles with sticky hands!


The course itself was really boring--it was a straight out-and-back course. Literally. We got 6 and a half miles out, turned around, and went back. Thrilling! Our scenery? Trees and dry field, with the occasional run-down barn shack. Nice. The "beware of bears--frequent sightings" signs definitely kept me on my toes!


Billy was waiting for me at the finish line, as was Tropical Smoothie. That sweet, sugary smoothie was the absolute best way to refuel! Yum.


Right before we took off:





Yeah...he beat us:





Taking off! Note: this is how the start of a race looks (and this was a very small race--under 900 compared to 20,000 at the Shamrock). You basically dodge other runners until you fall into your pace and they fall into theirs. It thins out after the first mile or so.





Finish line:




I had a glorious rest day on Sunday and did some gentle Hatha yoga, a 20 minute free download from yogadownload.com. My legs were DONE. Monday, I did an easy 2 mile run just to keep the running muscles fresh. I also did some incline powerwalking--not my fave. I'd rather climb stairs or run, but walking up a steep hill is b-o-r-i-n-g. Also did some core. I can finally hold side plank for 1 full minute at a time! I usually hold it on one side, then the other, and repeat for a total of 2 minutes each side. You WILL feel this the next day. I hold front plank, too, but that's not as challenging, so I usually add some extras like lifting up one foot at a time for about 10 seconds, alternating feet until I hit at least a minute. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Side plank example:



I can't stress it enough--start doing planks and you will never do another crunch or sit up again. Well, hopefully you stopped doing sit ups in middle school.

I'm already thinking hard about the Rock & Roll half in September...I figure I can take it easy with running this month, then pick my training back up in June--maybe some speed work to improve my time? Who's in with me?
PS: congrats to my girl Joanna aka j.liv for meeting a PDR (personal distance record) of 4 miles this week!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Much Needed Motivation


Motivation Tips from Complete Running:

Sign up for a race as soon as you feel up to it.

Find a committed running partner. It is much harder to skip a run when you have someone else depending on you.

Remember that you will have plateaus in your progress and tough days along the way.

It gets easier.

Accept and appreciate the fact that not every single run can be a good one.

Be prepared to remove the words “can’t” and “never” from your vocabulary.

Do not compare yourself to others. Run within yourself and for yourself first

Don’t expect every run to be better than the last one; some of them will hurt.

Don’t think too much about it or you won’t do it.

Even a bad run is better than no run at all.

If you normally run with music try skipping it and listening to your feet to hear your pace and your gait.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t experience weight loss immediately.

Start a running blog and read other running blogs regularly.

Running is not an excuse to triple your intake of doughnuts because runners gain weight too.
*I can fully attest to all of these tips in some way or another. One of my favorites is "even a bad run is better than no run at all." Lately, my runs have been hurtin' and I have to remind myself that at least I'm doing the dang thing. My motivation has definitely needed a pick me up lately as I've been seriously considering whether or not I'm officially insane for signing up for my 2nd half marathon within a few weeks of my 1st. Here are the stats:
  • Last Monday: 6.25 miles on the TM (some hills, some speed). This was my last decent run and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  • Last Thursday: 5.5 miles outside. This was just plain hard. I was recovering from a sinus infection...enough said.

  • Saturday I ran 10 miles outside at the oceanfront. Positives: it was beautiful out and Billy rode a bike alongside me, acting as my traveling aid station equipped with water, tissues, and Clif Shot Blocks. Negatives: it was just plain hard. I was slow and struggled with cramps (which I never get!). This run left me wondering what the heck I'm thinking with another half next week.

Aside from running, I've been doing well with incorporating crosstraining. Last week, I ran 3 days, crosstrained (weights & some alternative cardio) 3 days, and took 1 rest day. Hopefully I can continue this trend because it felt very well balanced. I honestly don't know how I'm going to perform this Saturday in the Dismal Swamp Stomp. I definitely don't think I'll PR; in fact I'll be surprised if I can run the whole thing without taking a couple of walk breaks. I'm hoping this weak streak will pass before then.

Wedding News:

April 4th was my bridal shower! I had an amazing time. My mom's good friend Amy hosted the shower, and my MOH Chelsea organized and ran it. I was so overly impressed with both of them and the work they put into it. The food was incredible, the games were fun, and the gifts were generous, to say the least. Most importantly, the company was wonderful.

My cousin Rachael (who is a bridesmaid) flew in from GA. She plays volleyball on scholarship for Kennesaw!


Enjoying ourselves (Joanna did too regardless of her deathly bored expression!)


I get to open these little letters on the wedding day, wedding night, honeymoon, and our 1st anniversary!


How cute is this cake?

I love these girls.


The story behind this one--the chocolate fountain lost its flow! That didn't stop us from eating it, of course.



I can't believe how much fun I had at my bridal shower. My only complaint is how fast it seemed to go by. I will definitely remember that day.
Billy and I worked hard on getting the invitations and the envelopes put together. I don't know if I mentioned, but my neighbor offered to print out the names and addresses on the outer and inner envelopes (she is a computer whiz and has all the software for that type of thing). This saved us a couple of hundred dollars that we would have spent on a calligrapher, or the time it would have taken me to address them by hand! I finally took the invitations to the post office today. Everyone in line and behind the counter could tell that I had my arms full with boxes of wedding invitations and gave me congratulations! I thought that was sweet. I can't believe today marks 2 months till the day!
I think I mentioned last post about my job announcement. Basically, I was offered a sort of promotion by my friend/ex-boss (she left our company a year ago to start her own physical therapy company!). She's actually more of a mentor to me and I really look up to her and admire her work ethic. I've actually been thinking about going to work for her ever since she left my current company, and I finally feel like God opened the right doors for this to happen. It is definitely a promotion, which will help out financially and also help out with my current job boredom (I feel overqualified and as if I've peaked with my current position). The sad part: I work with some amazing people. I'm going to miss my friends there! I put in my notice about a week ago.

I'll be back with a race re-cap (if I survive)!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Philipians 4:6-7. Read it.

Hi loves!

It's good to be back on the blog. Thanks for all the congrats on here and on facebook regarding the Shamrock. It feels like so long ago now!

I definitely took the day off from exercise after the race. I planned on 3 days off, but after the first day I was getting so antsy! I opted for some easy elliptical and upper body strength, as well as lots of stretching. Good stuff. I took 2 runs last week: a 5 miler on the indoor track at ODU (as well as a Body Pump class with Chels), and a 6.4 miler outside to take advantage of the beautiful Saturday weather. That 6.4 miler was totally unscheduled and impromptu. I literally ran out my front door and kept going, deciding I would turn around once I hit the end of Little Neck Road. I always plan out running routes and distances, so this was so freeing and made me feel super spontaneous.

This week, I've completed 3 runs so far, all outside: a 4 miler from ODU to North Shore Road, another 6.4 Little Neck route (same as last week's), and a 3 miler Larchmont loop. Sounds simple enough, but these past 2 runs have flat out sucked. I didn't give myself enough time to digest after an apple with PB before the 6.4 miler, which equaled that apple with PB nearly coming up to say hello the entire time. Then today, I thought 3 miles would be a piece of cake, but I huffed and puffed my way through it. Oh well, better luck next time! I'm shooting for a 10 miler this Sunday. I want to get in one long run before I start my taper for the Dismal Swamp Stomp on April 18th!

In non-running news:

Graduation is in a month! Insert dance here. As much as I can't wait to say sayanara to my undergraduate career, I really will miss seeing the faces of all the friends I've made. I have really enjoyed college and learned so much in all apects of life.

My wedding shower is this Saturday! I am beyond stoked. I get to hang out with all (or most) of the ladies in my life! I'll definitely post pictures.

Yesterday (April Fool's) marked Billy's and my one year engageaversary! Yep, we got engaged exactly one year ago yesterday. Man, that went fast.

Did you play any April Food's jokes this year? I didn't...I'm boring, I know. I actually had a fairly decent one planned out (I was going to call my mom and tell her I spilled coffee all over all the wedding invitations) but I never got around to it.

I'll also post later with some very exciting, although bittersweet, news in my life regarding my work. God has once again shown me how silly it is to worry and be anxious about things, when His plan is so much greater. I pray I find joy, contentment, and fulfillment in Him through the hard, trying times and not just the new, exciting times.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Half-Marathon Recap

We did it! We are officially half-marathoners. I can't believe it...we signed up for this race back in September I believe, and have trained our booties off since then for this race. I totaled up my mileage from when my training officially began in November and realized I've run nearly 300 miles in preparation for this race! I'm so thankful the Lord has seen us through without any injuries. There were times when all I wanted to do was throw in the towel, because let's face it, it's a lot easier to quit than to push through the discomfort. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." It is only because He has created our bodies so unique and beautifully that we are able to do things like run for 13 miles straight.

Race details:

The party started yesterday, when I forced bottle after bottle of water down Billy's and my throats. I was so full of water I hardly had room to eat the spaghetti dinner we had at our friends David and Rachael's house along with our Pastor Kevin, who was also a first time runner. We attended a "carbo load" party, complete with spaghetti, garlic bread, and my own maple sweet potatoes. I told Billy it was pretty funny that people are always talking about cutting out carbs and going on low-carb diets, and there we were headed to a carb fest!

After dinner, I got in bed by 10:15 but wasn't able to fall asleep until close to 10:45 due to nerves and excitement. My alarm went off at an hour that should never be seen by anyone on a clock: 4:20. I anticipated hitting the snooze button a million times, but rather shot out of bed and made a breakfast of a small bagel with PB and a banana on top, as well as a cup of coffee. Around 5 I woke Billy up (he stayed in our guest room due to the early morning), and we were out the door before 6. It took us a good half hour before we parked--traffic was already piling up and roads were closing. The race was due to start at 7, so we lined up by the bathrooms to go one last time along with everyone else in the world. As I was opening the door of my port-a-potty to come out, I see a girl, about my age, run full speed smack into my opened door. She had been running (either to warm up or just to get to the start of the race) right in front of the line of port-a-potties, and my door happened to open just as she happened to be sprinting by. I was in absolute shock as I watched her fall to the ground off the curb. I just stood there with my hands over my mouth, feeling so confused and so horrible. The girl started sobbing crying, which made me feel better because at least she wasn't knocked out, and her mom or whoever was with her rushed her off to the medics. I tried to talk to the girl or her mom, trying to apologize or be of some help, but they completely ignored me (not that I blamed them; the girl's head was a little more important here) and walked off. I should mention that as they were walking off, they still walked in front of the line of port-a-potties and the girl almost walked into another opening door and had to dodge out of the way. Had she been running, she would have for sure hit it again. Lesson learned: be mindful of any opening doors, whether it be a port-a-potty, a car, or what have you. Billy came out to find me crying and really upset, but honestly there was nothing we could do. I can't feel guilty because it wasn't my fault; it's unfortunate that she got hurt and I pray to God she's okay.

After that rocky start, we finally started our run. Man was it crowded! It took us a good 10 minutes almost to get across the start line, and then from there to weave around people until we found a good pace. The pace we held was comfortably hard. Miles 1 through 7 flew by and I have no recollection of any of my thoughts, other than I can't believe we're doing this and I can't believe it actually feels pretty darn easy! Unfortunately, around miles 7 to 9, Billy was plagued with a horrible cramp that wouldn't subside. I know he was really frustrated and did not want to stop, but he was in pain and I made us pull off to the side for a while to walk and for him to stretch it out. We really slowed our pace for those 2 miles, and they were not very fun. I couldn't enjoy the run knowing that he was hurting. He started feeling a little better around mile 9, so we picked it up to a moderate pace for miles 9 through 12, stopping at a few Gatorade stops (God bless em, the Gatorade was like cups of heaven). It was so great to have the entire run lined with people cheering us on. Around mile 9 to the end I spotted my dear friend and ex-boss Jennifer on her bike; she's a runner but decided to not run this year in order to cheer on her friends! She cheered like crazy and took tons of pics; hopefully she'll send them to me and I can post them here. Towards the end of the race, around mile 12, I told Billy I was going to just take off and see what happened. I sprinted so hard that I swear I've never put so much physical or mental effort into anything till I hit the end. My body felt numb; my lungs were burning; I was grunting and huffing and puffing and crying out of happiness, pain, and sheer overwhelment (is that even a word?). Nothing felt better than crossing the finish line! I quickly turned around and scanned the crowds for my friends and Billy, who crossed the line a mere 2 minutes after me, cramp and everything. After reuniting, we tried to get into the crowds to look for our friends, but were shuffled off to the massive heated tent on the beach, where we got a quick snack and then had to walk a few blocks down the beach till we were allowed to exit onto the boardwalk. We searched up and down, but couldn't find any of our friends! After a while we decided to give up and head home; I found out later that all our friends were in the same spots we had been, looking for us. I'm so super bummed we missed each other, but want to thank all of my lovely friends for taking the time out and waking up early on a weekend to come cheer us on. It means more than I can say!

My official end time was 2:17:46, and Billy's was 2:19:47. Currently, it hurts to move at all. I definitely strained a little something in my right achilles tendon, and my left anterior tib feels wrongly sore. Yikes! We immediately hopped in the hot tub, then I napped for a good long while. Oh, and been slowly eating throughout the day to make up for the over 1,300 calorie deficit.

What's next:

I plan on resting until my body feels back to normal. I hope to get back into yoga like I was a few weeks ago; I could use a good stretch. Then, it's back to training for my next half on April 18th! I can hardly wait:)

Thank you to everyone for your support, prayers, and encouragement. We love you!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Week!

So...one week till the Shamrock Half! Time sure flew by quick.

I'm actually a little bittersweet about the race...I feel ready to take it on comfortably and successfully, and while I will enjoy getting back into a more "normal" exercise routine (strength training!), I am going to miss my scheduled runs. Yes, they took up so much time and energy, but they provided great satisfaction. I am thankful that the Lord has seen us through our training without any major injuries and I pray everyone running next weekend makes good decisions and listens to their bodies.
This week's running was strange. As it was spring break, and I spent 3 glorious days of it in D.C. with two fine ladies (shoutouts to Joanna and Liss!), I plain didn't have time to squeeze in all of my runs, and I missed out on a 4 miler.
Right before we hopped in the car to leave for D.C. after I got off of work on Tuesday, I raced to the gym and raced through 3 miles in 26:23. I'm pretty sure that was a PR, but let's call it a treadmill PR since I doubt I could have gone that fast outside!
I took Wednesday off, as I was busy with this:


Tian Tian--bump on a log.

Uno...


Dos...


Tres!
Thursday morning, I woke up bright and early, saw Joanna was awake too, and we decided to hit the hotel gym (which was insanely nice with TVs on all the treadmills and a refrigerator with cold towels!). I ran 3 miles pretty fast, but boy was it painful. I felt about ready to throw up after the run...I should have known better than to run hard on an empty stomach (your stomach juices slosh around and make you nauseous).
Friday: off. Saturday: 6 miles on the TM next to the love of my life done in 59 minutes. I took it slow and steady; my stomach decided to cramp up every time I tried to increase the speed (I got bored going so slow for so long!), but it ended up being a very enjoyable run.
As you can see, this week was really scaled down. It was more of a "taper" week to prepare us for the mighty distance. This coming week is going to be even easier! I feel like I'm cheating somehow by running so little...I'm almost itching for more, but I know better.
I've pretty much decided to sign up for the Dismal Swamp Stomp half on April 18th. I recruited a friend/fellow runner to do it with me!
I have exciting news: Billy and I have found a perfect apartment to call home after the wedding! We get to start moving in/decorating mid-May. While the complex is a tad on the expensive side for us, we are getting a "promotional deal" that will reduce rent significantly. We will be able to enjoy a new, clean unit with unique lighting (my favorite part), a washer/dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and a balcony. All those little extras are luxuries that we never believed we'd be able to afford having our first year of marriage. The complex is walking distance to Town Center (which, Lord willing, is where Billy will be getting hired to work), has a parking garage, a gym (!), and a rooftop pool/hot tub area. I am still in shock as this all happened extremely fast (we drove by, walked in the leasing office, toured the place, and came back an hour later with my parents), but I could not ask for a better fit for us. This opportunity is 100% a God-thing! While I am known to make hasty decisions from time to time, Billy usually doesn't. We just both felt a peace about it and decided to take the plunge. Actually, as we were filling the paperwork out, 2 other couples walked in, one after the other, inquiring about one-bedrooms (we got the last one available! Had we waited, it would most likely have been swept out from under our feet).

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Survived, Kind Of.

EDIT: I survived the 12 miler yesterday (just barely)! I met my two friends at 89th street around 4:30, and we ran down to the end of the boardwalk, took a 5 minute break, and ran back. I think it took us around 2 hours, so we kept a really decent pace. Honestly, it was the toughest run I've ever had. I almost cried with happiness when we arrived back at the cars. I kept telling the girls that if they weren't with me I would totally have been walking the rest of the way back (they said the same thing to me which made me feel better--misery loves company!). While the girls are not training quite as much as I am, they both have done a few halfs in the past, so I was a little nervous that they'd smoke me, but we kept the same pace. The reason for my misery was, once again, my stomach. The girls said their stomachs were bothering them as well, and I think part of it had to do with the fact that we were running so far so late in the day (something my body isn't used to). I also don't think I hydrated or fueled properly. I ate a bag of Jelly Belly Sports Beans (I swear they were exactly the same as regular Jelly Bellys) around mile 9 which helped for about 5 minutes.

I was so thankful that I'd thought to pack a cooler with 3 waters which we chugged at the end. The thought of those waters was the only thing that kept me going! My stomach felt so off and I really thought I was going to throw up. I made it home and crashed on my bed. The last thing I wanted to do was think about food (although I had barely eaten that day), but I forced myself to get up an hour or two later and made a small dinner of whole wheat french toast and an apple with PB. Didn't help. Went to bed early and feel great today, actually (although my legs are feelin' the burn). While it was not a fun run overall, parts of the run were very enjoyable, and the girls and I chatted the entire time, which was great. I loved getting to know them better and we are definitely going to train together again sometime soon.

So, there you have it, my last long run before the 13.1 in two weeks. Let's hope the half goes better than this, or I may never want to run again...!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hello?

Are you guys still out there? I did spend another week and a half away from the blog, but I have pretty good reasoning...I was dogsitting all week at a house with finnicky internet along with having to study for tests and papers due in every class! But good news: spring break is here! WOW--the first half of my last semester FLEW by...which means the months are ticking away till the "I Do" day!

Quick running recap:

  • 2 Wednesdays ago I ran 4 miles in 36 minutes on the TM--I thought I was going to PR with this run but I still haven't beat my PR of 35:44. SO CLOSE! Also, about 15 minutes of full body weight training.
  • The next day, I did 4.6 miles outside, which was enjoyable and refreshing.
  • I rested on Friday, and on Saturday did 8 miles on the TM...I was pretty happy that I maintained a speed of 6.5 mph versus my 6.0 mph usual speed for longer distances. It felt so good.
  • Sunday was an "active rest" day. I did yoga and about 10 quick, intense minutes on the stepmill to get my heart pumping.
  • This past Monday I did 4 miles on the TM in 36:45, along with a yoga DVD (no yogadownload since I was away from my computer).
  • Tuesday, just a yoga DVD.
  • Wednesday is where the fun started! I don't know if I mentioned it, but ODU just built a new, incredible student recreation center...it's SO awesome. 2 stories, all new equipment, 3 group fitness rooms, a cycling room, 3 raquetball rooms, 2 basketball courts, an outdoor center where you can rent kayaks, bikes, surfboards, etc, an indoor track (!), and a 3 story rock climbing wall! WOWEE! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Needless to say, I grabbed 2 friends from class and we took on the indoor track...they stuck with me for the first 3 miles and I finished the last 3 by myself. It was so fun, quick, and entertaining because the track is right above the basketball court so you can see everything going on below you. I don't know what kind of time I had, but it was the best 6 miles I've ever run. I felt like I was flying! Oh, I also went to a yoga class at Gold's.
  • Thursday I did another 3 miles on the track with Billy, and we attended a belay class for the rock wall. I freaked out halfway up the wall when I decided to look down! Not fun. When it came time for me to belay Billy, he flew up the wall so fast I could hardly keep up with giving him slack on the rope from my place on the ground. When he reached the top, I started to let him down slowly. I don't know what happened, but before I knew it I was FLYING through the air straight for the wall! HAH. Poor Billy happened to look down right at that moment...we were just so confused. I still don't understand how that happened, but our instructor actually said I did a good job and did the right thing (because I sacrificed myself flying into the wall so I wouldn't let him fall!). You're welcome, babe.
  • Friday I rested, and yesterday I did a yoga class at Gold's along with a few minutes of upper body and core training.

You may have noticed a yoga trend...this is because I'm committing to doing as much yoga as possible this month. This is to increase flexibility, help prevent injury from all the running I'm doing, and build discipline by doing something I don't typically enjoy. Unfortunately, I think I did something to my back in yesterday's class! It hurts to rotate my spine. It's times like these when I wish I was just a physical therapist already.

I have a 12 miler scheduled for today! I was a little concerned about finding someone crazy enough to run it with me (Billy's in Colorado with a bunch of friends for a snowboarding and rock climbing filled spring break). Somehow, I managed to round up not one, but two friends from school/work! We plan to set out at 5pm today and take on the VB oceanfront, starting at 89th street, down to the end of the boardwalk, and back. Phew! If I make it back alive, I'll let you know how it went. I'm not nervous about the distance, just about the heat! It's supposed to hit 80 degrees today (a week ago it was snowing!).

Call me crazy, but I'm tempted to sign up for another half marathon in April. It's the Dismal Swamp Stomp, and I'm picturing it as a messy, muddy, trail run through the Dismal Swamp. Billy is interested too, but wants us to wait till after the Shamrock and then decide.

Wedding news:

We picked our (cup)cake bakers! Now we're just deciding on flavas. We sampled and loved all these: strawberry, pineapple, apricot, guava (interesting), bavarian cream, lemon, and lime. Any suggestions? We're definitely picking strawberry, and Billy really loved the pineapple so probably that too. Should we choose a 3rd flavor as well (maybe the bavarian cream, or a vanilla or chocolate) to provide a traditional flavor? We can choose as many flavors as we want. What is your favorite/least favorite wedding cake flavor?

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blog Much?

Hi guys,

Sorry for my slacker posting trend! These past couple of days have been nutso. I definitely had an...interesting last week of running.

  • Monday, I hopped on the TM for 4 miles at an incline of 1%. I did it in about 37 minutes and wrote in my log, "a lot less effort than usual!"

  • Wednesday I hopped on the TM again for 5 miles, half of which was spent at an incline of 1%, but I got some shin pain and took the incline off for the other half. Seemed to be the cure. It took me 50 minutes for this run.

  • Thursday I did piyo with Lisa! What a great core workout. I skipped my scheduled 3 mile run due to some sinus issues (down dog was really interesting with clogged sinuses).

  • Billy and I set out on Saturday for an 11-miler at First Landing State Park. Let's just say we got 3 miles deep into the trail before I succumbed, complete with tears, to stomach/esophagus pain. I tried to push through it, but the looming thought of 11 torturous miles was enough to send me into a breakdown! We walked a mile and a half back, and I managed to run the last mile and a half. In total, we ran 4.5 miles, which more than made up for the skipped 3-miler.

  • So, we decided to take on the big bad 11 on Sunday...of course it had to be raining, which left us with no choice...yep, we did it on the treadmill. I think we set world records for longest time spent on a treadmill! Seriously, who does this? If you have, please tell me your experience. I'll be honest...my experience was pretty darn fantastic. I had a TV right in front of me (watching the national college cheerleading competition: sheer entertainment), a fan blowing on me, and I read 2 magazines over the course of 1 hr, 50 mins of nonstop running. I also ate 2 Clif Shot Blocks at miles 3, 6, and 9, which provided some much needed energy.

And there you have it! That puts my weekly mileage for last week at 24.5--a new record. I took a rest day yesterday, and I had some intention of getting in some cross training or a 3 mile run today, but I decided to honor my sore calves, busy schedule, and piles of homework and take another rest day. I did do a 20 minute core yoga routine from Yoga Download. It was so challenging! I really suggest you check out Yoga Download. They have tons of classes, most of which you can download a free 20 minute portion of.

In retrospect, I wish I had gone to the gym. I feel a little sluggish, but honestly I also think I need to have my thyroid rechecked...it may be time for a boost (I've been falling asleep in all my classes! Embarrasing).

In cool news, lookie at what I found in Target (which I had totally forgotten about and blissfully stumbled upon):

Orla stuff! I bought 2 of these chair cushions and a kitchen mat. I need to find 2 more of the cushions, though (the Target I was at only had 2).

We had our 2nd premarital counseling sesh today with our pastor. We really do enjoy the sessions, but we are waiting for the "hard topics" to hit...if they ever do. I'm not saying we are experts on marriage, but once you've been dating for 5 years, especially through the tough transition from high school to college/teenage to adulthood, you've pretty much already dealt with all the tough surprises (at least in our case). Still, it's been nice spending time doing the "homework" together and confirms the peace I have that Billy is the man God wants me to marry. Married people, any thoughts?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

14k recap

Hi readers!

And a special hello to the beautiful Hannah (who I know reads this blog even though I've yet to see a comment from you) who got engaged this weekend! If there's anyone who could make a killer blog post about wedding details, it's this girl (a future event planner). CONGRATS Hannah!

This past Thursday was our final 3 mile run before the 14k. We ran the Larchmont Loop in the blustery wind. Extra points for extra wind resistance! It was definitely a good idea to do outdoor runs this week.

Friday we rested from exercise and woke up at 5:00 am on Saturday morning to prepare for the race! We arrived at the race site and got our chip timers to strap around our ankles, lined up, and we were off! We started at the back of the pack, but quickly passed a lot of people who were either running/walking or just power walking. We fell into a groove and stayed around the same group of people pretty much the whole time. It was really fun to people-watch and chat with/encourage those around us. The weather was pretty chilly (about 40 degrees and cloudy), so I was glad I chose pants/long sleeve shirt/gloves. Our easy jogging pace was not fast enough to warm up a whole lot in! We ran the entire time with no walk breaks; at the water stops we grabbed cups and kept running while drinking them (hardcore, I know). Once the finish line was in sight, we sprinted like mad men to the end. We had a blast and enjoyed the after party catered by Moe's! We came home and promptly got in the hot tub. I noticed my feet were filled with blisters, which I never really get, even after last week's 10 miler. Not sure why the difference here. Billy's bloody toenail was a whole other story....

I think we passed through the finish line at an hour and 32 minutes. Since the distance was 8.67 miles, our average speed was 5.7 mph, which was comfortable and easily attainable for us.

Bright & early:

Gettin pumped!

Sportin our medals:





Again with a different backdrop:



Can you tell we were just a little excited?



I hope you all had an amazing Valentine's day with your hunnies! We spent the evening refueling at the delicious Captain George's seafood buffet. I am STILL full. I also made a sweet strawberry cake for my valentine (courtesy of Miss Sandra Lee, courtesy of Mrs. Chelsea Stott who gave me the recipe). We were too full to try a slice but got to split a piece today. Yum! The best part of this cake is the addition of strawberry nectar. I went to 5 different grocery stores and almost pulled my hair out in frustration trying to locate strawberry nectar, but man was it worth it.
I usually rest the day after a long run, but I was still feeling sluggish after that big dinner last night, so I headed to the gym this evening for a quick & sweaty 30 minutes on the Stepmill with a magazine. Stress relief at its finest. I felt so much better after!
If it crosses your mind, please be praying about Billy's and my future living situation. We're looking to sign a lease May 1 to have a month to get our place set up before the wedding. We've had an interesting opportunity to rent out an incredible house for an incredibly low rate that some mutual friends/acquantainces are looking to sell. Since the owners can't seem to sell the house in this market, they've offered us the option to rent until they either a) sell the house or b) take the house off the market and keep it as a rental. Since we don't like the uncertainty of knowing that a house we've made a home in could potentially be swiped out from under our feet at any moment, we've decided to agree to rent under one condition: that the owners commit to a year-long lease not subject to termination due to selling the house. We'll run this ultimatum by the real estate agent and see what the outcome is. The Lord is truly teaching me a lesson in patience and trust in Him for what's best for us (I have a bad habit of thinking that what I think is best is better than what He thinks, of which I am seriously mistaken!).
Thanks for reading if you got through all that!
Love to you all.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

v-day excitement and myth buster

Hi friends.

I'd like to go on and post my runs for the week so I can make it to my next class in time.

Monday I did the same 3-mile route through Larchmont that I've been doing lately. I could definitely feel myself running faster and I wish I had my Timex (but it's away getting fixed).

Tuesday was a rest day, but I headed to Gold's for 20 minutes on the Stepmill (!). Gold's has new Stepmill machines that don't look like they belong in the 1980s. Sweet! I finished up with about a half hour to 45 minutes of intense abs and strenght training. I did a ridiculous amount of planks and side planks. I held my plank for about 30 seconds or so, then immediately went into side plank without taking a break and held for 30 seconds, then went back to front for 30, other side for 30, etc. I kept repeating this sequence without dropping my hips down. I lost count of how many I did, back and forth like that with no break. I encourage you to give it a try. Empowering! Especially when the big buff guys on the mat next to you are struggling to push out some wimpy crunches. If they only knew...! My strength session was a little humbling, to say the least. I had to drop down in Smith Machine squats by 20 pounds. The Smith Machine, by the way, is that big rack you see that you stand inside of and rest the huge bar across your back while you squat. Best move ever.

Wednesday I took a 4 mile run through Larchmont in between classes. Loved it. The weather was perfect, I maintained a fast, even pace...it was just one of those great runs that leaves you feeling refreshed and motivated afterward. I can definitely feel my body getting used to running outside versus on the TM. Oh, and I also went to a yoga class that night. It was nice, but actually a little too intense for me. I wanted something gentle and stretchy for my sore body, but this was more strength focused. I do notice an increase in flexibility already, though!

I have a 3 miler scheduled for today. And can I just say I'm so pumped for Saturday! I'll be running alongside my valentine in the Virginia is for Lover's 14k race. It'll be my first race ever and I can't wait to experience the atmosphere. Hopefully the rain in the forecast will hold off....

Here is a little something I found on a great website called Gym Junkies. This is from an article called " The Top 10 Fitness Myths Busted!" Here is number 10 and one that I stand strongly by:

10. Women will get bulky from lifting weights

"Let me be more specific - women are afraid that lifting HEAVY weights will make them bulky. Crappy fitness videos abound with women performing biceps curls and triceps kickbacks with dumbbells that should only be used as paper weights.
Women can not get big and bulky for one very good reason…their bodies don’t produce enough testosterone to build the large bulky muscles you’re likely to see in bodybuilding ads. Testosterone is a key ingredient to putting on muscle mass, and the only way women can get this type of big bulky look is by taking steroids and hormone injections. This is why you see bulky female body builders.
So don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights if you’re a woman. Lifting heavy will make a woman strong, not manly. And personally, I find a strong woman sexy as hell."

Just something to think about, ladies!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Monster Post

Hi peeps. Hope you all had a great summer--I mean, weekend. It was in the 70s here! I definitely reached some running "milestones" since I last blogged.

After my run through Larchmont on Monday, I took a rest day Tuesday, and got on the TM at 1% for a 5 miler on Wednesday which I completed in 48:48. Neat! The run itself wasn't very neat, though. The first 3 miles were decent, but the last two I was in debilitating esophagael pain and had to trudge along.

Wednesday night was special because the Gale Force Winds played their first show at The Boot! GFW consists of Billy and our good friend Jean who has a real sweet voice. They were incredible and we all had a blast! You can bet I was swooning from my seat. Billy's YouTube page has videos of the concert.

Thursday I met my friend and bridesmaid Lisa at Gold's Gym for another Piyo class (pilates & yoga combo). Again, I loved the yoga portion! I felt more comfortable with it this time around and it seemed to flow pretty naturally. Who would have thought? I had a scheduled 3 miler, but the gym was packed and I had forgotten my running shoes (I was wearing crosstrainers). I still felt like I should give it a go anyhow. I eeked out one stupid mile before I felt like I was going to overheat! No surprise there.

Friday was a trip to Rock Gym with some fun friends! Let's just say it's two days later and I'm still suffering from immense DOMS. My forearms are on fire! Worth it, though.


Billy & I went to a Power Yoga class at Gold's on Saturday morning. Yes, I got him to come to yoga with me! Unfortunately we were split up across the room from each other because the class was packed and we got there late, but hearing his opinions afterward were pretty hilarious. In opposition to my worst running milestone at Gold's on Thursday, I hit my best running milestone at the oceanfront on Saturday. 10 miles. Double digits. A decade's worth of miles. Billy & I ran fron 74th Street all the way down the boardwalk till we hit 1st Street. Then we ran back! The verdict? It was surreal. I wanna do it again! I know, I'm psycho, but I've never felt physically better than during this run. The weather was gorgeous, the scenery was great, and I had the love of my life to do it with. We even held hands as we crossed through the final block. Ugh, cheesy, I know. Also neat was that the Polar Plunge was going on! We got to see everyone in the frigid water. Some annoyances: the boardwalk was so packed around the Polar Plunge area that we had to stop and walk/elbow our way through the crowds. I've never seen it like that before! Also, when we hit the 5 mile mark, we stopped to have a drink of water and eat a pack of Clif Shot Blocks. We'd been looking forward to these yummy gummy bursts of energy even before we started running. I opened up the pack, and plop, one fell on the ground. We loved the Shot Blocks, though. I still think you can get the same benefits from your basic gummy bear or jelly bean, however. All in all, we were gone for 2 hours and 15 minutes, including breaks to use the restroom, drink water/stretch, and when we were navigating through the crowds.

Now on to some wedding details:

I may have mentioned that we scored the bridesmaid dresses at H&M for the unbelievable price of $30. They just so happened to be just the color, style, and material I was originally looking at for $200 from another dress shop! All 6 of my girls have tried on their dresses and they all happen to fit great. They were, however, a bit on the short side, so my mom and I purchased this blue tulle fabric which she gathered and sewed on the bottom of the hem to add some length. She also added a slip of the tulle inside the bow detail just for fun.

Here is the finished product of dress #1 with some faux pink gerbera daisys I had in my room.





Close up of the hem detail:




Close up of the bow detail:



What do you think?

I also probably mentioned that we are serving cupcakes in place of a traditional wedding cake. Here are some pictures of cupcakes I love and hope to have my cupcakes modeled after:

These are probably the most gorgeous cupcakes I can imagine, but one baker we met with said it would be much more expensive to have them done this way as it would take a lot of more time and effort. Figures.




These are incredibly simple and elegant. Picture them with white frosting/pink bows or pink frosting/white bows. Love it.




Yum! So inviting to the tummy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Back to the Great Outdoors

Hello blogworld!

I hope you are all having a nice start of a new work week. Mine's been a little iffy. I'm having a tough time relating to/communicating with one of my professors for a class that should be a very easy, effortless A. Not to go into detail, but I'm really putting my all out there and going above and beyond the effort that should be applied for a class of this nature, and I'm not reaping the benefits at all thus far. I CAN'T WAIT TO GRADUATE! Usually I love school, but how can I say this...I am OVER IT! I just want to enjoy married life, bring in a steady paycheck, and make yummy dinners until I ease my way into graduate school. Then I'll be a physical therapist, make everyone's bodily aches and pains go away, and live happily ever after. Is that so much to ask?

Onto the runs:
  • I rested last Thursday, even though I blogged and said I'd be running 4 miles. It was our first experience with premarital counseling and the fiance & I decided to spend time catching a quick dinner together. And in case you didn't know, running after dinner means no running at all!
  • It's okay, because we decided to shift our runs back a day. After work on Friday, we met at the gym for 4 miles on the TM. Yes, we ran after work on a Friday. Crazy. It's pretty funny because at my gym, there are 2 TVs in front of 2 separate treadmills spaced far away from one another, about 5 treadmills apart...so the fiance is on the 'mill at one end of the gym, and I'm all the way down the line on the 'mill at the opposite end. We just would rather watch TV than be close to each other I guess;) I must have jinxed myself with my last post, because right when I put my incline on, I started getting shin pain! WTF?! I took the incline off after a couple of minutes, and like clockwork, my shins were fine. Let's hope that was a one time deal. My time was 37:50--good but no PR. This time I alternated every 5 minutes between running at 6.0 mph and 7.0 mph.
  • Pushing our schedule back allowed us to have a rest day on Saturday! Our first run-free Saturday since November! We spend the day traveling to different bakeries with my mom to discuss wedding cupcakes! I think we're down to 2 different bakeries right now...I'll post pictures later (I'm at school right now so I'm not on my personal computer). We also attended a bonfire at one of my friend's houses (yes, a bonfire in 30 degree weather). All in all it was a great Saturday and it was nice to spend the whole day together.
  • On Sunday, after church, we set out for our long run--6 miles. Not very long, but once you begin to really increase mileage, it's good to taper back every few weeks to prevent overuse injuries. The weather was insanely beautiful (60 degrees and sunny) so we took advantage and completed a Ghent/Downtown Norfolk run. The first half of the run was way tough for me--I kept complaining about wanting to stop, but my motivating other half encouraged me to keep on. I don't know what the deal was; my body was just not feelin' it, and I was huffing and puffing along. Fortunately, the last half felt great. We finished in 57:12, which was pretty quick for us being outdoors!
  • Today I took a 3 mile run through Larchmont. The weather is still amazing out, so I mapped out a route last night and finished in 28:30. It was so peaceful out.

Sorry that my posts lately have been all running and less wedding! There has been so much going on wedding wise. Expect a fun picture post soon with ideas and inspiration.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stepmill Science and the Countdown Continues

Do you see that over to the right?  That's right, 4 and a half months till I'm a Mrs!  Wow, I don't think I've ever thought of myself as a Mrs. before.  Kind of creepy, actually.  Makes me feel old!  I've thought of myself a wife and can definitely grasp that concept, but not a Mrs!

So the wedding planning is finally getting to me.  I'm so stressed.  It seems like it's all my mom & I talk about lately, and dollar $igns are fla$hing in our eye$.  Weddings are not cheap, people!  Do you know how much it costs to have 250 wedding cupcakes?  You don't want to know.  The figure is haunting me.  How did you wives out there do it?  Help a bride out with some cheap tricks!

I'm posting on campus right now, so I don't have my workout log in front of me (I'm scribbling on the back of my already filled up log at this point).  But as best I can remember, workouts for this week included:

  • A 3 miler on Monday.  On the TM, of course, and at a 1% incline, of course.  Do you treadmillers out there use the incline for your runs?  I read a couple of studies that concluded putting it at a 1% grade equalizes you to running outside, and I've been faithfully doing it since.  The fiance doesn't, though, because he thinks it's the root of his shin splits.  I still don't have my HRM so I have no idea of my stats for this run, but I think I remember going pretty fast.  
  • Tuesday, I got on the stepmill for 20 minutes.  The stepmill should not be confused with the stairmaster (ew).  This bad boy is the super hugely imposing moving staircase from the 80s that you never really see anybody using.  But let me tell you, if I'm not running, you can find me doing my cardio on the stepmill from now on!  I forgot how much of a buttbuster it is.  I had a great time and was able to read a book; you don't bounce around as much as you would on an elliptical, and I definitely worked up a sweat.  I followed up with some upper body weight lifting.  My legs were sore from the previous day's quickie run.  You will most likely never see me splitting up my strength workouts into upper and lower body; I've learned the benefits of combining the two: a more dynamic, natural workout, using the whole body the way it was created to move.  This is also why you'll never find me on the circuit weight machines.  What good is strength training going to do you in real life if you're strapped down in a chair isolating only one muscle group at a time?  
  • Wednesday I seriously considered skipping my scheduled 5 mile run.  I've actually had a long, hard week, and I just wanted to curl up in bed and VEG OUT.  But I'm too stubborn to relax...I headed to the gym, telling myself to at least do 3 miles and see how I feel.  I ended up doing 4 and it felt amazing.  Duh; exercise will always increase your mood and energy levels.  Hormones, people.  I didn't track my time, but I did alternate between running at 6.0 for 10 minutes, then 7.0 for ten minutes.  It was a good medium for me because while I wasn't exactly doing speed intervals, I was still training my body to "rest" at 6.0 mph (my goal race pace).  I would have knocked out the 5th mile, but it was around 8pm at that point and I was ready for dinner!
Today I would have 3 miles to do, but since I cut back yesterday I'm going to aim for 4 today as well.  Want to make sure I cover all my bases;)  Also, in about 45 minutes the fiance & I have our first premarital counseling session with our pastor!  

Has this week been dragging for anyone else?  Usually, my weeks fly by and the weekend's here before I know it.  I can't exactly get excited for Friday tomorrow, because after class I work till 6, so it's close to 7 by the time I get home, and by then I'm already exhausted and just want to eat and sit on the couch.  Real fun, huh?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

something to blog about

I have some terrible news...my trusty Timex heart rate monitor has gone schizophrenic on me. Earlier this week I strapped him on like usual and did a double take when he read my heart rate as being 33 beats per minute. I'm fit, but not that fit:) The same reading occured the next day, and today, my heart rate was apparently 218 bpm. Am I alive?!

Sadly, although I'm the type to save all boxes, manuals, and receipts for issues such as these, I cannot find my warrantee info anywhere. Hopefully I can get in touch with Timex on Monday and they will work with me; otherwise I'll have to shell out for a new one. If I have to get a new one, I'm definitely going with a Polar or a Garmin.

I'm babysitting right now, so I don't have my log book in front of me, but I actually took Wednesday off from running. I was scheduled for 2 miles, but I guess I had a lot going on that day (I truly can't remember at this point). Oh well, can't be a perfect runner every time. 2 miles didn't seem like a big miss anyhow, although I do still feel a tad guilty for having missed it.

I planned to get in the gym for a 5 miler Thursday morning (I had 3 miles scheduled + hoped to make up Wednesday's 2 miles). I ate a teeny tiny granola bar, waited an hour, and attempted my run. Fail. I was in pain, people. I made it through 3, unwillingly. I should have known better.

Thursday, I sent out the save the dates (finally!) and we ordered our invitations! Big check off the list.

I took Friday off from the gym and enjoyed a date with the fiance. Times have been tight, so dates have been few. It was nice to indulge in one:)

Today was something to blog about...we ran 9 miles! Well, I ran 9, the fiance ran 10 (more on that later). We set out around 11 with a route mapped out (we actually parked one of our cars at the halfway point filled with water, gatorade, and gummy bears--quick energy). Right before we set out, the temperature dropped 10 degrees, it started to rain, it was cloudy, and it was very windy. Any sane person would have stayed inside and enjoyed a leisurely Saturday. Instead, I decked out in sweatpants, a workout top, a thin sweatshirt, a windbreaker, a sweatband/ear warmer, and gloves. We ran 4.5 miles to the car, where we got in to warm up and refuel. I had gotten so hot in all my layers and decided to ditch the sweatshirt (which was soaked, by the way). When it came time to put our windbreakers back on and set out on the way back, our jackets were soaked on the inside and absolutely freezing cold! I forced us to take the wimpy way out. We drove to the gym, hopped on the TMs, and I knocked out another 4.5 miles (the fiance went for 5.5, for a total of 10 miles--he was too wrapped up in the game on TV to stop!). My legs were jello by the final mile. Throughout the course of the run, I felt great. No pain anywhere. I just felt like I'd been moving for so long! It was kind of strange, but neat. It took me 1 hr, 36 minutes total.

As always, the best part of running is refueling afterwards! We made a brunch feast of french toast, turkey bacon, fruit, and yogurt. Delish.

I just watched the Miss America pagent swimsuit competition on TLC (I know). I am pleased to say that the girls all looked healthy and athletic, for the most part. Not once did I think "she's too skinny." I guess America is realizing what the people want!

Like I said, I am babysitting, and will be staying here overnight until tomorrow evening. It's a good thing I got my exercise in today because I always feel so lazy and lethargic when babysitting. Probably due to all the fun junk foods and TV watching. It's also way too cold to go outside and play, so tomorrow will probably be filled with lounging to the max.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow (?) Day

Yep, today was a "snow day." As in all the schools + ODU were closed due to the winter storm...too bad I didn't even see a single flurry! I was glued to the window at work just waiting for the skies to open up and blanket our town...it never happened. Boo.

Today was also an extra special day in the way of American history...congrats President Obama! I'm not one to be outspoken about politics, but you can't help but be proud to be an American on a day like today. I think he is a very classy man and I am excited for what the next couple of years hold. Change might be scary, but can also be necessary and good, even when it may differ from what we're used to. I commit to praying for our new President as he makes decisions to lead our country.

Onto the moves:

This past Saturday consisted of my longest to date...8 miles. It was on the TM, as I stated previously, thanks to the uncooperative weather. Props to all you runners who brave the elements and run outside on less than desirable days. I haven't worked up the stamina yet.... The run was fine. Fine because although it felt good, it was boring! An hour and 24 minutes is a long time to spend pounding away without getting anywhere. I even read a magazine at one point because I was dying for something to look at. That also goes to tell you my speed, which was nice and slow. I kept the TM at a 1% incline, burned 1049 cals, and had an average HR of 149. The fiance did great and finished even before I did, but that might have been because I stopped to take a bathroom break after mile 5.5:)

I took Sunday off, and on Monday we headed indoors again for a quicky 3 mile TM run. I decided to give my HRM a break so I don't have any data, nor did I keep track of the time (I had to take a bathroom break AGAIN halfway through), but I kept a pretty decent pace...probably close to a PR.

I was going to take today off, but in leiu of the snow day, I felt I should at least do something active. I did an exhilerating 45 minutes or so of strength & abs, plus 15 minutes on the ellip. Fun stuff.

I'm in need of a new running log book! I'm on my last page of my current book.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Yay!

I just stumbled upon some very exciting news...Orla Kiely is coming to Target! Orla is my favorite designer ever! I own absolutely nothing from her, though, as she is sooo expensive, but I just drool over the cuteness she creates. I actually saw a girl in the computer lab at ODU with an Orla bag, and I had to stop her and compliment her...I never see this stuff in real life!

Okay, okay. Here is a sampling of what will soon be available (sometime next month supposedly). She is only doing kitchenware, but hey I'll take what I can get.







You can expect to see most, if not all, of that stuff in my kitchen;) Hope the fiance doesn't mind!
And while I'm at it, here is a picture I found a while ago that makes me happy!

The fiance also happened to pass his cold along to me last night, so our 8 mile run scheduled for today should be interesting. Unfortunately, we're going to have to attempt it on the TM (it's 20 degrees out!).
Have a sweaty weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Feelin' the Burn

...The burn between yesterday's PR and today's 3-part workout, that is!

So, I took Tuesday off, and Wednesday I was due for a 4 miler. I hopped on the TM, set the incline to 1%, and settled in for a moderate, comfortable run. As I mentioned before, I'm trying to hold off on speedwork due to the large increases in mileage taking place. But I felt so good that I somehow finished in 35:44...my best time yet for that distance. I burned 522 cals, and had an average HR of 162. My peak HR was 179...I watched my HRM as my HR climbed up and up, and I was anxiously waiting for it to break into the 180s, but all that happened was that it went back down to 178. I thought that was pretty funny; it's like my body is not allowing my heart rate to get that high. It's good to train your heart at higher levels like that on occasion, though. I'm determined to break into the 180s very soon! But that would require more speedwork....

I actually woke up sore today. My quads, which rarely get sore from just running now, were feelin' the good old DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). So I probably should have ignored my desires and skipped the weight training I did today, knowing I also had to run and attend a group fitness class. But it had been so long that I just couldn't resist anymore. I did only 15 minutes, but it was an intense 15 minutes, and I used every minute as best I could.

I then hopped on the TM, but kept the incline off for today. I had a scheduled 3 miler, but I actually only got through about 2.85 miles before I ran out of time and had to get to the class. The run was nothing to write home about; I kept a 10-minute-per-mile pace most of the time. Somehow it felt way harder than yesterday's run, even though it was shorter and slower (again...the heat. I also think that the foundation of this particular Gold's is slanted, because every time I get on one of the machines it feels slightly tilted to the left. Someone else I talked to had the same observation.).

After the run, I attended PiYo (pilated + yoga...get it?) with some lovely lady friends. Throughout my run I was using this class as motivation to finish strong, thinking I'd have all this time to stretch and relax. Wrong! PiYo kept me sweating, and was so challenging that I cheated on most of the moves! Good thing I stuck myself in the very back corner. I've taken a handful of pilates and yoga classes before, but none like this! Had I not been exhausted from everything else, I would have really enjoyed this class...but it was just plain not what I expected....it was too hard! :) I would like to add that I did fully enjoy most of the "Yo" portion of PiYo. I loved switching between warrior poses and learning new moves. It felt very empowering and graceful. It was the "Pi" portion that sucked.

I didn't wear my HRM in the class because I wasn't expecting to burn calories (hah), but combining the strength training and the run, I burned 634 cals, with a peak HR of 177 and average of 162.

It's so cold outside! Let this video warm your heart. This was taken at the Washington D.C. National Zoo 2 summers ago, when I had a serious crush on the baby panda Tai Shan. The fiance & I headed up there with his brother & sister in law, and they had to drag me out of the panda section. This is Tai Shan's mom, Mei Lan, enjoying an apple while I swooned on...I think you can see me wiping a tear away at the end! Haha. Sorry for the bad video quality; I think the fiance was too excited to keep the camera still:)


video

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back to Reality

It's been a while! Classes started back up again today. I'm already feeling the procrastination seep into my pores. My classes should be mostly interesting, though. I'm taking an Advanced Kinesiology/Biomechanics course (my capstone Exercise Science course), a general Biology I've been putting off for years (not thrilled about that one), an online Theories of Personality Psychology course, a Banned Books English course (I've been waiting for this! Our first assignment is to read Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. Enough said.), and an Intro to Digital Writing English course, which was described as being centered around blogs and discussion boards, which are two of my favorite things. I am really looking forward to that one and I have it tomorrow.

Running recap:

  • Last Wednesday: 4 mi on the TM at 1% incline in 36:22. I actually set another PR doing this. Last week's PR was 36:48. I really wasn't planning on increasing my speed, especially while increasing mileage, but I feel like I have to compensate for running on the TM versus outside. Burned 520 cals, average HR of 160 and peaked at 174.
  • Last Thursday: 2 mi on the TM at 1% in 20 minutes or so. Not even worth reporting. I was supposed to do 3 miles but my stomach planned otherwise, and rather than push through it, I decided to listen to my body and take it easy in preparation for Saturday.
  • Last Friday: A light and easy 30 minutes on the elip while glued to Twilight.
  • Saturday: My longest run to date. 7 miles! The fiance and I set out to the oceanfront that evening. We started at 52nd Street and ran down the boardwalk till we hit the end, took a stretch and portapotty break (eew), and ran back. I actually loved this run. I felt great and so energized for the most part. The second half, which is usually the hardest for me, was the best and I felt like I was flying...like my body was moving on its own. It was so peaceful on the boardwalk that evening because it was basically empty, and the moon lit up the ocean alongside us. Awesome Creator. It took us 1 hour, 19 minutes (I had predicted 1:20 earlier that day!). My HRM said I burned 943 cals (yikes!), and my average HR was 144, nice and moderate for a long run.
  • Sunday: Off! Obvi.
  • Monday (today): Headed to Gold's in between classes for a 3 mi TM run (don't worry, it was still sweltering hot). Did it in 28:18 with a peak HR of 177 and average of 164 (again, too high for the moderate pace--blame the heat).

So that's about it! My total weekly mileage for last week was 16. I'm pretty sure my previous highest total weekly mileage was 13. I probably won't be working on any speedwork for a while because the last thing I need is an overuse injury, and I'm feeling so good now that I'm pretty much waiting for something to go wrong. Positive, huh? Also, my total mileage from November 3rd up to this point (so a little over 2 months) is over 122 miles. I love having a logbook to track these things. If you're a runner, I would really recommend it!