Thursday, May 31, 2012

Interval Training

I would like credit for today's workout.  I thought that getting up at 4am deserved enough applause, but our interval training today proved that it is going to kick our ass (and leg muscles).

Just before we ran our 10k, we met with one of the Wellness Coaches at work who runs 4 marathons a year. 4 people. That means she is literally training all year round, so she knows her stuff.  She gave us a 10 week training plan that included different base runs, long runs, and interval training each week to build up to the goal of a half marathon and marathon. Great!

So, after I injured myself at the 10k by getting horrible shin splints the week of the race, getting a GIANT knot in my calf (not enough potassium?) and then tearing the muscle from my shin, I conferred with Jamie again to make sure that I was not a repeat offender.

I asked her to give me a 30 minute workout that I/we can achieve on a lunch break, since Thursdays have been our interval training. Today was the first day to try it out.  I really feel like it was a very effective workout, however I don't think I was prepared for how difficult it would be! 30 minutes didn't seem like a long time, until we tried to do it without stopping. Needless to say, we didn't do quite that... but probably did the whole 30 minutes in 35. PS, it was 108 today, so it was extra tough.

Here's our 30 minute interval workout:
  • 5 minute warmup - steady run
  • 5 minute sprint intervals - 30 second sprint / 30 second jog recovery (5 times)
  • 5 minutes of drills - lateral runs, running backwards, curb, jumping jacks
  • 5 minute sprint intervals - 45 second sprint / 15 second recovery (jog or walk) (5 times)
  • 3 minutes of drills
  • 4 minute cool down - walk
  • 5 minutes of stretching

I feel great though, and my calves are doing well. They were a little tight in the inner part of the calf, so I went ahead and ordered one of these today off Amazon:

I figure this is probably going to be one of the best investments I can get between now and the race. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Learning to love my thighs.

I think being female means I am genetically predisposed to hate my things.  I don't think I have ever met a woman who said her thighs were the favorite part of her body, or ever said "I love my thighs!" When we hit puberty, our body prepares us to become a woman by giving us large hips (and coincidentally thighs) so we are ready for child-bearing.  As a person who has never once wanted to bear anything, I found my hips/thighs presumptuous and immediately detested them. 

My family laughs because when I was high school, I got tired of fighting my hips and the size of my ass, and decided if it was big enough, I might as well hang things on them and shake it. So I started bellydancing.  I soon grew to appreciate my rear end and realized it was just apart of who I am, and gave me character.  My family is about as white as you can get, but the Duval girls sure have booty. Not sure where it came from, but my entire family (regardless of shape and size) has it. At least I'm not alone!

But my thighs... I never, ever wore shorts until a few years ago. I didn't like how I felt in them, or how I looked in them, for that matter. I was self conscious when I sat down in them.  Then I moved to Arizona, and quickly realized that pants in the summertime were just not going to fly here.  While running and hiking, the difference between pants and shorts can literally be the difference in life and death, depending on the extremity of the heat, so I just needed to get over it.  So I gave in... bought shorts to not only hike in, but run in.

And then, this happened:
Photo courtesy of AZ Central

The first time I wear little bitty shorts to run in, a reporter snags our picture, and BAM! Front page of AZ Central for the entire day.... are you freaking kidding me??? So funny.  And typical. 

But I realized something... I am 28 years old. It is what it is! If someone is out there judging what my thighs look like when I am running in 109 degrees, that is their problem and I feel bad for them.  I am out there doing something for myself and taking my health and athleticism into my own hands.  

When I moved to Arizona, I knew I was going to learn a lot about myself.  At the time, I didn't realize that self acceptance and overcoming body image issues was one of them, but I stand corrected. :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm baaaaack....

First run in 2.5 months, and lucky us, it was the hottest day of the year so far.  We sure know how to do it the hard way! :)

It was 109 when we were out there, and you could definitely feel it. But... we did it! It was a pretty hard 1.43mi, but I expected it to be after being sedentary for so long.  16 minutes.. not horrifying, but not great either. And we walked part of it. 

Not going to get frustrated, the next run will be easier and it will continue to get easier from there. I am just super happy to be back on my feet again! Our new running schedule:
  • Monday afternoon, Tempe Town Lake, 4pm (ish)
  • Wednesday morning, before work. 4:30am....
  • Thursday at lunch - sprints / interval training
  • Every other weekend, early morning run (longer run)

Anyone else trying to get into shape in the summer? I am realizing it is a whole other realm of "mind over matter" training in the heat. Ordinarily the summer heat gets to me and sucks every ounce of motivation out of me.  If I am going to keep on track for the half marathon, then I can't let that happen.

So. Train smart.  Been looking up a lot of research on training in the heat.  Here were some of them:
Respect your limits. Heat and humidity increase the physical challenge of running, and health problems can occur when you push beyond what your body can handle. Do not aim for a personal best on a warm, sticky day, particularly if you are not used to such conditions. • Acclimate. It takes 10 days to two weeks for the body to acclimate to keeping cool at higher temperatures. Give your body time to adjust. [I keep having to remind myself this!!]
• Know the signs of heat problems. If you feel faint, dizzy, disoriented, or your skin is clammy and abnormally hot or cold, slow down or stop running. If symptoms continue, sit or lie down in the shade and seek medical help.
• Drink enough. Drink throughout the day, so that your urine remains plentiful and pale yellow. Even mild dehydration (scant, dark-yellow urine) will make you feel sluggish and tire early during exercise, and can increase the risk of heat-related problems during exercise. In the heat, sports drinks are even better than water because the sugar and salt they contain form an “active pump” that transports fluid to cells more quickly than water alone. Before workouts lasting longer than one hour in the heat, drink 16 ounces of fluid several hours in advance, another 16 ounces in the hour before, and more just before the start if your urine isn’t pale.
• Don’t drink too much. Overhydrating before and during exercise can cause a dangerous condition known as hyponatremia (water intoxication). This drop in the body’s sodium levels can cause nausea, fatigue, vomiting, weakness, and in the most severe cases, seizures, coma, and death. To avoid hyponatremia, do not overdrink, include pretzels or a salted bagel in your pre-run meal, and use a sports drink that contains sodium. During exercise, drink no more than a cup of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
• Protect yourself from the sun. Wear a cap or visor to shield your head, face, and eyes from the sun’s burning rays, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Use sunscreen on exposed skin, even on overcast days.
• Check your meds. Do not consume products like cold medicines, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or anti-diarrhea medicines with dehydrating agents in them. They may increase your risk for heat illness. Caffeine products are only OK in doses you are used to taking on training day. Do not start taking a caffeine product on race day.
• Wear synthetic fabrics. Unlike cotton, synthetics wick moisture from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur. Synthetics also decrease chafing and don’t cling and cause a chill. Look for loose-fitting garments with mesh inserts under the arms, on the sides of the torso, down the arms, and on the outer thighs. Acrylic socks keep feet dry and cool.

Courtesy of

Monday, May 14, 2012

The juice fast and raw cleanse

Last week I did a three day juice fast, followed by 3 days of a raw food cleanse.  I'm not quite sure what made me think of this cleanse, but I was starting to feel really crappy and wanted an instant change.  I was going on two months with hardly any exercise, after my leg injury and my surgery; I had a pain in the left side of my stomach that happened immediately after my surgery, but never seemed to work itself out.  And I had recently been on a ton of pain killers between anesthesia, post-op, and my car accident.  The bloating had finally gone away, but I was still feeling pretty crummy about myself, which wasn't doing any wonders for my motivation or self-esteem.  So, after lots of online research, I decided to do a juice fast and finish up the week with a raw food cleanse.

 Since I don't own a juicer, I decided to purchase my juice.  This turned out to be a little expensive, but I was determined to do this correct, and knew I couldn't trust anything store bought (even Naked juice contains "juice" as some of their ingredients, rather than strictly fruits and vegetables).  Shout-out here to 24 Carrots in Chandler, their juices are fresh, organic, and amazing!

The first day was tough. A strict juice cleanse also means that no coffee, alcohol, or caffeine is allowed.  I'm an admitted coffee addict so this portion made me the most nervous, including the fear of the ever elusive "Caffeine Withdrawl Headache."  Lucky me, Monday afternoon was the only day I had a headache.  Yay! This was also the toughest day as I hadn't slept much the night before, so I was dragging, depleted, and a little weak. I ended up going to bed early that night. Day 2 was easier, and day 3 was almost easy. I wasn't even hungry until dinner! I realized then how some people could do a week, or even a month, but I was super excited to bring real food back into my diet.  Note: Only one of my 9 juices were all fruit. Each day I had a 100% veggie juice and the rest were veggie/fruit combinations. When I got hungry, more water with lemon, and occasionally decaf herbal tea. 

Day 4: Raw food! I continued to have a juice breakfast, but this time I moved up to a smoothie that included raw almond butter. 100% raw for the next 3 days.  Oh sweet heaven, I never missed chewing so much! The best part is, I found some really awesome recipes that I will either continue to eat raw, or modify to become a cooked meal.  

By Saturday, I had lost 5lbs. Hooray! And I felt it.  I found I was actually great without coffee - I had a ton of energy and was feeling amazing.  Suddenly I was feeling motivated to get my exercise started again.  

Saturday night we celebrated by going out to True Food for local, organic cuisine. Delish.

The only adverse side effect I had the entire week was on Saturday morning. I woke up and initially thought I just stood up too fast, but then realized I was just feeling very light-headed and dizzy.  That feeling went on for about 4 hours, but decreased after I had my morning smoothie. I think my body was just ready for real food.

Sunday we went to a BBQ, and I half of my lunch today was cooked (rest was raw). I DEFINITELY feel a difference in my body between Friday and today. And my morning's coffee? I didn't even want it. Huh. Who would have thought that would happen?

So, my game plan:
Breakfast: Continue the smoothie/juice route.  Coffee later should I really need/want it. I will miss eggs for breakfast, but have decided to integrate hard boiled eggs as a snack or occasionally in my lunch.
Lunch: Raw lunch. Mostly salad based. Heavy lunches are hard to work after anyway, and I end up feeling fatigued and need caffeine in the afternoon.
Dinner: Fresh, vegetarian/pescetarian meal.

Side note: Got the go ahead from my doctor that I was ready to run again! Buying new running shoes this week and then it's back to business!