Monday, January 30, 2012

Changing the way I look at exercise.

I've changed the way I look at exercise, and suddenly I think I've tricked my body and mind into liking it. Pushing my goal out from a 10week cram session to a full year prep for a half marathon has changed my outlook tremendously.  I wish I would have figured this out sooner.

I've always felt "soft" for as long as I can remember. I've never been a very muscular person, though I build muscle quite quickly when I actually put my mind to it.  This has always been something that has bothered me as I (like most women) tend to gain weight in the same areas consistently - my stomach and my thighs.  It only takes one photograph of yourself to snap yourself back into focus.  And even though I always realize it, somehow, things just never changed.

Since I have the entire year to prep for this goal, I have a less strict regimen that I need to stick to.  However, I find that I am exercising more often and am wanting to exercise 5-6 days a week.  When I am active every day, I feel better.  And if I am active every day, I don't feel bad if I take a day to rest.  I think this may be why I have failed in the past:
  • If I have a goal of 3 days a week and I don't fulfill it, I fail, then I get discouraged, and I stop.
  • I get so busy in my hobbies and my sewing projects that this becomes my daily regiment, not exercise, so again I fail, and I stop.
  • I have too short of a deadline that is unrealistic and impossible to meet, so I fail, and I stop.
  • I focus on a weight loss goal and become so focused on that instead of overall fitness, so if I don't make the number I fail, and then I stop.
My week is starting to look like this now:
  • Run 2-3 days/ week
  • Hike 1-2 days/week
  • Spin class 1 day/week
Anything else is extra, the rest have become a daily activity... and it feels great! Now if I can just fix the "soft" thing...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Good job, Abby!

Today I ran 2 miles on the street all alone without the assistance of a treadmill or the accompaniment of Christi.

...and I did it in 18 minutes... that's right folks, that's a 9 minute mile.... booyah!

I feel like patting myself on the back today. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Runner's high...?

Well everyone, I think it's happened.  I might be starting to feel this so called "runner's high." I noticed a twinge of it during the 5k on Sunday, and I haven't stopped running since.  
I thought that I would take Monday off because by Sunday evening, I was wiped out from the past week.  However, I suddenly felt this surge of energy on Monday afternoon, so I ran 2 miles at the gym.  Yesterday, my body needed a little more convincing - I was hell bent on getting a run in before I met Mineko for coffee and a movie, so I quickly hurried home and jumped on the treadmill.  My body was tired... so I only ran 1 mile.  But 1 mile is better than no mile at all, yes?

Today, I thought I would just work out on the elliptical machine.  A funny thing happened - I got a major cramp in my left side while I was on it.  I have finally reached the point where I don't get them any more when I run, and BAM! there it was sneering at me on the elliptical machine.  I realized that I had a different breathing technique on the elliptical, and it wasn't an effective one.  So I finished up my 2nd mile on that machine and finished with a 3rd mile on the treadmill instead.  Tomorrow, Christi and I will run the neighborhoods at lunch, I think 2 miles.

While my runs haven't necessarily been getting faster, I am not concerned by it yet.  I just want to consistently keep active, as I feel the need for it every day.

One bad thing? Sports bras give me a neckache which turns to a headache.  Anyone else ever experience this? Sometimes this happens when I wear the sports bra for a long period of time, however I wouldn't consider 25 minutes a long time.  By the time I get home and showered, I start feeling the pain immediately. Grr.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Resolution Run

It's kind of the perfect setting for a morning run.  500 people dressed in their favorite running gear, lined up at the Starting line to begin the first run of the year.  All ages, all sizes and shapes, a collective group brought together as a part of a New Year's resolution with big grins across their faces and the adrenaline in the air.  The airhorn sounds off and like a rat race, everyone begins running up the first hill to race in a 3.2mi, 5k run.

For the less experienced (such as myself), this is the perfect crowd to complete this with.  There are the people who race by you to complete each mile in 4 minutes.  They are the ones we laugh at and say, "can you imagine??" but secretly are inspired and wish it was us.  And then there's the group of people who have never run before in their life, are overweight but determined to complete this run.  Good for them! If they can do this, so can I.  Mother's pushing their strollers along the canal, older generations, people with disabilities but pushing forward.  And then there's us, in the middle, thinking we are going to complete the 3.2 miles in about 40 minutes, and SHOCKED when we cross the finish line at only 32 minutes! We finished as 213 and 214 out of the 500.

The first mile was a difficult start as it began uphill.  Thankfully, that terrain didn't last long as it took us 11 minutes to finish.  The second mile seemed like a breeze compared to Thursday's 2 mile lunch run.  We were all prepared to push it for the finish when it was suddenly there already.  And the amazing thing is we both could have run farther!  Suddenly, a 6.2 mile in the near future doesn't seem that far off.

This was a fantastic and inspirational way to start both the New Year and my resolution to get to the 1/2 Marathon by the end of the year.  I am so proud of us and so excited for our accomplishment! While I think I could have pushed and done it on my own, I was so happy to have such a wonderful running partner and friend to experience this with instead. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

(not) Chicken Soup for the Soul*

I've been on track this week.  I am signed up for the Resolution Run on Sunday to run my first 5k race.  Yay! Christi signed up today, double yay!

After running my first mile of the year on Monday, I ran 3 miles yesterday on the treadmill, and 1 mile today around the park and neighborhood.  Tomorrow will be 2 miles in the neighborhood with Christi, and then I think I'm hiking the next two days as "active rest."

I've been very careful to stay focused on my running form to make sure my foot is rolling heel to toe each time.  I have realized that as my legs get tired, I lose some of the bounce and my knees don't pull up as high.  The result? Funky running form and an angry heel.  I can tell immediately when I lose my form because my heel reminds me.  The new inserts in my shoes have helped a lot, but back to ice and ibuprofen while I'm training, just in case...

Work was nice and stressful and freaked me out today, so my 1 mile jaunt around the block was 1 minute and 20 seconds shorter than normal! Funny, stress and built up tension can make for an excellent workout.

For Christmas, Jay's sister RaeAnne gave me of one of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners.  She had been my running partner over Thanksgiving weekend and witnessed me struggling with my injury and endurance over the week.  I'm only on story 19 of 101, but so far the book has been focused on stories about people getting started, and now people using running as a form of therapy.  What's amazing is that I feel like I can relate to most of the stories so far.... if this many people had a struggle and eventually got better and began to love running, surely I too can follow the same path?

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." - John Bingham

*not Chicken because I don't eat it... Get it? :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sometimes, you need to just get angry at yourself to get moving.

Ordinarily, I don't make "New Year's Resolutions" because I feel like you should try to achieve goals all year round.  However, this year I think I've made an exception to this rule since I have found myself increasingly contemplative about the year to come: where I want to be financially, health and fitness goals, vacations and new adventures to plan, etc.  And funny, all this came to a head over the New Year weekend. So there you have it...

After sustaining an injury and then getting sick between an already jam packed holiday season, it seemed apparent that my body was going to be relentless and that I just needed to give in a little. As a result, the January 15th goal of the PF Changs half marathon fell by the wayside.  I started to get really depressed about it and was feeling like I just didn't get the chance.  I felt like there was always something that stood in the way of my goal. 

And then I realized, my goal doesn't have to go away just because I can't make the PF Changs marathon.  I also realized that when I made this decision to run the half marathon, it was on my own. I felt empowered by the idea and excited at the same time.  Then I got a running partner, and I got even more excited! But suddenly I realized that I was relying on my running partner to get me to move forward, rather than propelling myself forward myself.  What kind of shit is that?? If I can't run or hike with someone, I just don't go?

I started to get mad at myself and decided it is time to move forward.  Fact of the matter is, the hardest part is getting the shoes on and getting out the door.  When I finish running, I feel better.  My neck feels more relaxed and my headaches are less.  I start becoming more conscious of what am I eating and my daily caloric intake.  So..I am signing up for a couple of runs and I am doing them, even if it means that I end up doing them alone.  If I pay for them now, I have to do them later.

So here we go:

It's game on, peeps.