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!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Me? China?

Hello!

I last posted on the first day of the new year. Since then, I took off Friday (seems like so long ago--I can't even remember what I did this weekend). On Saturday, I ran 4 miles on the TM at 1% all by my lonesome...well, the fiance was there, but I made him bike/crosstrain instead since his shin splits were still bothering him. I actually hit another PR--two in one week! I ran it in 36:48. Unfortunately I forgot my HRM, but I'm pretty sure my HR was up there...I remember it being pretty challenging (but not painful!).

I was going to rest Sunday, but being glued to my desk addressing the save the dates had me craving an exercise break. I headed to the gym with the 4th and final Twilight book, where I did a total of 30 minutes on the elip and 20 strength training (yeah...it had been pushing 2 weeks since my last date with the weights...sigh). It was a great workout and I enjoyed doing something other than running at the gym. It was nice to switch it up and get back to the good old days where I'd be glued to a cardio machine with a book or magazine...reading and running don't really "go." I burned a total of 578 cals with an average HR of 143.

I had gotten mixed reviews from a co-worker about the 4th Twilight book, but man, I have to restrain myself from reading too often because I can't put it down! Intense.

Yesterday (Monday) I did my 3 mile TM run at 1% at Gold's for the sake of time and convenience...I've said it before and will say it again: I am never doing cardio at Gold's again! I don't think I've ever sweat so much in my life. My HR was at an average of 162 and peaked at 175. Pretty darn high for 3 miles. I did, however, make decent time: 27:35. I ran it fast to get it over with before I passed out from heat stroke. The gym was packed out, too. I hope everyone sticks with those resolutions!

I don't know if I mentioned it, but we completed our registry for Bed, Bath & Beyond. BOY was it stressful! It started out fun and exciting, but after a while we were just standing in the middle of the teapot aisle, scratching our heads. Good thing my mom was able to come back with us a week later and pick out basically everything...we are starting from ground zero here! One thing that really excited me (which surprised me because I didn't think I cared about this stuff) was picking out china! China never really interested me until I saw this:
Was it made for me? Bows are probably my favorite thing ever. We also spent the afternoon searching for apartments...and Lord willing, think we found a winner...guess we'll see within the next few months. I desire to be where the Lord wants us. I'm glad we're starting to look now, even though it's soon, because I tend to be hasty about this type of thing and get really excited, wanting to sign papers right away. I'm thankful the fiance worked for a property management company and knows the ins and outs of the rental world.
Signing off!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

This is the year...

...the year I get married! And graduate. And live in a new place. And run the race I've been training so diligently for. Can you tell I'm welcoming 2009 with enthusiasm?

The week started off rough in the way of running. Monday was supposed to be a quick and painless 2 mile run, but after having eaten fried chicken wings for lunch (?!) it was incredibly painful and just as discouraging as the pain felt during the 6 miler last Saturday. I left myself 4 hours at least after eating lunch to run, but my esophagus was still battling against my body. I still managed to run it at 1% in 18 minutes, with an average HR of 153 and peak of 170.

On Tuesday, a rest day, I happened to have my first real dress fitting! My mom and MOH came with me, and the dress fit great--I don't need a single alteration. I loved it even more and hated to take it off. It needs to be steamed, though, so I'm going back in about a week to pick it up and take it home for good. I wish I could post a picture, but that would be breaking the rules very much!

Wednesday I had to fit in my 3 mile run pretty early in order to have time to shower and make it to work. Since I can't stand first thing in the morning caffeine-free runs, I could only give myself an hour between my small cup of coffee and tiny granola bar breakfast and my run. Bad idea. The esophagus definitely woke up on the wrong side of the bed, giving me a paaainful run! I actually was able to run the first 2 miles pretty quickly, but I had to shuffle along the last mile at a molasses pace. It took me 3o minute total. I was feeling really down, considering that was the 3rd run in a row with those incidents. I really should know better. I have gastroparesis, or paralysis of the stomach muscles, which means food stays in my stomach a lot longer than the average person, and that combined with my esophagus problems means I need to be super conscious of what and when I eat on running days. It takes a lot of planning, but running is worth it to me, so I have to suck it up and stop whining!

We rung in the new year at Chelsea & Justin's, along with some other fun people, and had an amazing time.
Counting down...
And sealed with a kiss!
I started the first day of the year off right with a quick and cleansing 2 miler on the TM at 1%, and I finished in 16:58! That's gotta be a 2 mile PR for me. It felt so refreshing to be able to run as fast as I wanted and not have pain. I hadn't eaten in 4 hours or so, and that did the trick. I burned 235 cals, had a peak HR of 176 (yeah!) and an average of 157. I ran another quarter mile to cool down at a slower pace as well, and then did some core/ab work with my little brother!
I am going through strength training withdrawal and hope to get my fix tomorrow. Also, the fiance thinks he has shin splints! He took the day off today and may take off the rest of the week as well.
Any resolutions?