Friday, August 17, 2012

Let the training begin!

Week One of training!

I didn't think I added that much more this week, especially since our scheduled runs weren't any longer than the previous week. But by Thursday night, I was positively exhausted!

Sunday night:
I tried really hard to be prepared for the week. I spent a couple hours in the kitchen juicing fruits and vegetables, making smoothies for the next two days' breakfasts, packing my lunch for Monday, and getting all my workout clothes washed. I was in bed by 9:00.  Of course, I couldn't sleep. I had the worst sleep ever and woke up pretty much every hour between 9 and 5. Not the best start...Sleep is the key to training!! As someone who has spent pretty much my entire adult life being sleep deprived (or maybe I've always been this way? I didn't like to sleep as a kid either), I am worthless at running without sleep! It is the very best nutrient you can give your body and I am reminded of the fact every time I don't get enough.

We had a 3 mile run scheduled Monday evening. Christi was exhausted as well.  We pushed forward.  It was the hottest it had ever been in the evening when we ran: 111 degrees. There was absolutely no moving air, the air was thick and stale, and there was a storm over the mountains mocking us. I would have paid every dollar in my bank account for the storm to move over and the rain to rescue us. Or a sprinkler to go off? Throw me a bone, here! Nonetheless, we got almost the entire way without stopping: 2.9 miles.  I'll take it. We walked the rest.

Zumba class at Lifetime! In case you didn't notice this, I am white. Very white. Not just my paleness, but my rhythm. I have an ethnic booty but boy did I get my ass kicked in this class! However, I had an absolute blast. I think I laughed the entire time.  And I was sweaty and exhausted when done, so it was a well earned 500 calories I burned off.  The entire point is to have fun, so this was achieved. I will go back next week.

4:30 am run, 4 miles.  Usually, we have Tuesdays off, so we weren't expecting to be so tired on Wednesday.  However, we were.  I basically got home from class about 9 and then went to bed. Immediately got up and went running. Every part of my body felt heavy and I had a hard time with the first mile.  Even my shoulders felt heavy, which made it hard to swing my arms and keep up my pace.  We ended up walking part way in between, but honestly that's because it was also so hard to breathe in the heat.  I just wish the air would thin out already! Would be so much easier! There are lots of articles that talk about how beneficial it is to train in the heat, because then when race day arrives, you are that much faster! But they made a very valid point: "It will always be difficult, and that is normal." We are not failing. I've learned to realize that if I have to walk for a second, I am not a "failure" as a runner.
After work, we hit the gym to do a 30 minute core/weight workout.  This was the perfect amount of time, and despite our short workout, it was beneficial and I was sore afterwards! The hardest part for me is that I have very weak chest muscles post-surgery, so it's going to take some extra time to build up the muscle and get used to the feeling of using them again.  We tried out the Push/Pull workout I had posted about previously: Some of the exercises on the ball were so difficult! (and I'm sure we looked so ridiculous doing them in the middle of the gym..) I'm not sure that I like this one as a repeat workout.  Next week, we're going to try Cross-Fit: BOOM! Talk about an ass-kicking!

No rest for the weary! Sore and exhausted, we trudged over to the gym at lunch to do a treadmill speed workout.  20 minutes was the perfect amount of time, but we are realizing now we need to pick up the pace on the speed workouts.  No matter how fast 7.5 felt, we probably need to get up to 8.5 or so for our sprint minutes. (We are doing a slow pace 1 minute, followed by a fast pace 1 minute, and then alternating, gradually speeding up our fast minutes).

REST! So thankful.  I was starting to feel terrible. Feel better now. :)

Tomorrow we are going to a Barbell Strength class at Lifetime. I'm nervous for this, but excited. It's supposed to be very hard. We needed a good strength day, and this seemed like the best way to do it.  8:15am. :)

More REST! Hooray!

I've noticed that this week I have been absolutely ravenous. I'm listening to it, and eating when necessary, but want to be cognizant of it so that I don't continually put on weight when I am trying to get into shape for the race.  I just read an article that brought up some great points about why runners actually gain weight when they train, and it's not just muscle mass.  A great point was the "I deserve this cookie" post run scenario (guilty), or the fact that we are eating more carbs, which leads to water retention.  Good to know! If you are interested in reading it, here's the link:,7120,s6-242-304--14055-0,00.html?cm_mmc=NL-Nutrition-_-1009824-_-08162012-_-Adding-Pounds-as-You-Add-Miles%3F

Special shout out to everyone who has been so supportive throughout this process.  I am fortunate to have an amazing boyfriend who tells me he is proud of me and urges me to go on when I am exhausted. I'm thankful to have an awesome training partner who also has a supportive husband as well. It is a team effort after all...

Love to you all!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kale. Juicing. One week. I'm a cripple.

This summer is absolutely flying by.  How did it become August already? In addition, this marks my 4th year here in Arizona... where has time gone?? It's amazing!  I can also tell that it is August because I am suddenly very OVER the heat. I do well throughout June and July, but by August I am tired of it being hot at 4am, missing eating outside at lunchtime, and wishing the evenings were cool enough to go for a walk or sit outside.  That being said, forging on!
Next week begins training for the half marathon!!
We had set this day several months ago and at the time, it seemed so far away. And suddenly, it's game on.

With our (hopefully) impending move in a month, and the beginning of training season happening, it was time to get set up with an official gym membership.  One reason being that soon I will not have free gym access. The other being that Christi and I need to be able to work out together more during the week, and having a gym we can access at lunchtime or classes directly after work will make that much easier.  Despite it's price, I went back to Lifetime Fitness. It's an amazing gym, it's huge, right next to work, and has a huge dressing room/shower area for when we work out before work or at lunch.  

A reminder of our weekly schedule:
  • One long run, spanning between 4 miles and 10 miles, trying to get to the ultimate goal of 13.1
  • One short, pace run, 25-75% of the long run distance for that week
  • Speedwork day: 10-30 min of interval training (sprints, stairs, running backwards, hills)
  • Cross-training (2-3 times/week): weight lifting, resistance training, fitness classes, elliptical, yoga, hiking, etc.
Oh yeah, and rest.

We've been pretty good until now with the exception of the weight training, and several cross training days together. I have gotten some hikes and yoga in, but nothing dedicated each week.  

Which brings me to my latest dilemma, I'm a cripple.  I'm not kidding, I haven't been able to walk since Saturday.  We were going to do hill training on the treadmills at my gym, but there are only 2 available in the gym, and 1 was taken. We decided to run stairs on the fitness steps for 18 minutes, followed by 3 circuits of sqauts, leg press, and hamstring curls, followed by a half mile loop. We were tired, but had no clue how sore we would be. Cripple. It's awful. My poor calves didn't know what hit them. It literallly took me 5 minutes to get out of bed the next day.
Lesson learned: NEVER do this the week before or of the race!!

Miranda gave me her old juicer. I'm in love!! <3  It's taken my breakfast smoothies to a whole new level! Tomorrow's smoothie: almond milk, protein powder, banana, strawberries, peach, maca powder, flax seed, a bunch of kale, and carrots.  Yes, kind of looks like ass... but it's going to be delicious. :)

Lastly, this year I have become obsessed with kale.  Not only is it an antioxidant that is chock full of vitamins, but it is delicious! I buy it at the grocery store, and then it's been in season a lot, so it's arriving in my produce as well. As a result, I have a ton of it.  And while Jay likes it, and has been a good sport about my new obsession, when I'm not home he's not likely to nom on a bunch of kale just for the fun of it. :)  So, I've had to get a little creative with what to do with it.  I'll throw it on pizzas, in quesadillas, in pasta, smoothies.  This week, I tried it in hummus...

I found this recipe on TakePart's Meatless Mondays series* and followed it exactly just to try it out. I found the garlic powder an interesting choice when generally hummus calls for fresh garlic (but the flavor was great). I also did dried herbs (that's what I had, and the recipe didn't specify), but I think fresh would be awesome:

Green Monster Hummus
1 can chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves of garlic
2T lemon juice
1T soy sauce (I use gluten free)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1t salt
1t dried oregano (or 1T fresh)
1t dried basil (or 1T fresh)
2 cups kale (or spinach)
Pour all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Refrigerate for best results. Serve with pita chips, pita bread, or veggies. Enjoy!