What a Difference a Week Makes

If last week had me questioning what the hell I am doing training for a half marathon, then this week was just the boost my confidence needed to keep me moving forward. Here’s how the workouts went down (via http://www.halfmarathons.net. I jumped in on week 6):

Monday – Rest. (along with a pouty pity party)
Tuesday – 5 mile run through the neighborhood. The weather was hazy and hot with 75% humidity. This run was slooow, slower than usual. I took lots of walk breaks so I didn’t die while I was out there. I was soaked by the time I got home.
Wednesday – I made up a strength routine that involved balance and improving strength on both sides of my body. I didn’t write it down though, so from memory I did 15 reps of: bird dogs, planks (30 seconds), mountain climbers, deadlifts, bridges with leg lifts…basically lots of ab and leg work on the floor because it was too effing hot to be outside.

Thursday – 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym with this workout:

via popsugar.com

via popsugar.com

It was a great boredom buster and I sweated buckets, so I’ll definitely use this one again. Maybe tomorrow…

Friday – Rest with some strength but I just wasn’t feeling it. It was a very rainy and cool Independence Day, and we went to my in-laws’. I got some much needed baby nephew snuggle-time, and really tried to moderate the booze-facing because I knew I had my long run scheduled for the next morning.

Saturday – 6 mile run. It was a gorgeous day, with tons of wind and no humidity at all. Perfect for my long run. And I made a few new friends:

005 These chickens – there were probably 30 or so of them altogether – followed me everywhere I went. I thought they were going to get on the bike trail with me to do my run, so I had to enlist someone’s help to divert their attention away from me. It was very funny, but so strange at the same time. Like, who did they think I was? Mama Chicken? The Pied Piper? The Chicken Whisperer?

Sunday – 2 mile walk with the pups.006

So, this means I am back on track with my training. My setback from last week was just a hiccup. I’m good. I’m motivated.

As for next week, well, I’m back to work teaching summer school. Honestly, I’m looking forward to getting back. The two weeks off has been wonderful and I love vacation, but I am glad to have the structure back in my schedule. And I’m looking forward to seeing my students again, of course.

Since I am starting to get into longer runs (more than 1 hour), I can’t ignore my nutrition any longer. I bought some Vega Protein Powder for smoothies after my runs. And I’m going to start counting my macros I swear. Soon. Meanwhile it is still summer vacation and I have oyster shooters and burgers on the grill waiting for me.

Enjoy the week, peeps…

 

 

 

 

Race Day Recap and Photo Challenge Wrap Up

003

Day 28 (My Gym) #shrinkingjeans

Day 29 (Virtual Race)

Day 29 (Virtual Race)

I couldn’t have asked for a better day, weather-wise. It was sunny and warm, with a nice cool breeze. A perfect summer day for a 10K. Except that I didn’t run 6 miles. I had been taking it easy all week in preparation for my 6.3 mile run this Sunday. And in my infinite wisdom I thought it would be a good idea to do a little kettle bell workout on Saturday. Annnnd that’s when I hurt my back. Strained muscle, nothing serious, but had me hobbled all day Saturday and definitely not in race-ready shape on Sunday. Despite this setback, I started out on my route, fully intending to do the 6, but my back had different plans. I suffered through the 3 miles then had to walk the 1.3 miles back to my car. Utterly defeated. Technically it could have been considered a Did Not Finish, but since it was a virtual 5K, 10K, or 1 mile fun run, I gave myself a 5K finish. Am I disappointed? Unfortunately yes. Is that cheating? I hope not – well cheating myself, I guess.

Ten weeks spent on that training. Ten weeks I (mostly) followed the training plan. Ten weeks of highs and lows and commitment and enjoyment and pain and fun. All thrown out the window because I did not finish the 10K.

My confidence is gone. I’m starting to think I cannot do the half marathon in October. I don’t even know if I want to anymore. Maybe I can defer my payment on the race to another race, maybe another 10K?

As Bobby, my wise and wonderful husband, would tell me, “this is a first world problem”. And he’d be right, of course. This isn’t necessary to my survival. This is a hobby, something I do for “fun”. I do this because this is how I want to spend some of my time. [Side note – other first world problems: venting on your blog, photo challenges, and kettle bell injuries]. I shouldn’t give up. I’ve had a setback, but I made a commitment and I ought to keep it.

So, no more pity party. Back in the big girl panties… I am starting a new training plan this week, and this week’s runs include two 5-milers and a 6-miler. Here’s my second chance I guess. Can I do it? Probably… Yes… I don’t know!!

OK…time to get a grip. I’ve got 15 weeks until the half. Plenty of time. Take a breath – the race isn’t this weekend. I honestly thought I was being smart, planning a 10k early in the summer to jump-start my marathon training. And it was a good idea. I’m there. I can do it, just because I didn’t yesterday doesn’t mean I couldn’t tomorrow. I can. And I will. Shake off the bad run and keep moving forward. Regroup and make a new plan.

 

Moving on to the last photo of the month! It’s supposed to be a Before/After of me, but since I never took a “before” photo, I had to come up with something else.

Day 30 (Before)

Day 30 (Before)

Day 30 (After)

Day 30 (After)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When all else fails, a snap or two of my D-Man always makes me feel better. He was the cutest puppy. Look at that beautiful puppy face. We thought he was so sweet and calm. Little did we know that he was all tuckered out when we met him. He’s 4 now and just as sweet, with a devilish side to him that I am both infuriated and amused by (most of the time).

I guess it’s time to get over my first world problems and make a new playlist, choke down a few ibuprofen, hug my puppy dog, and get my butt back out there. If anyone out there has any advice for me I’d love to hear it.

 

Photo Challenge and Running Update

Aside

Hello Hello!

Hope all of y’all had a lovely weekend. It was picture-perfect here where I am, and I did take a photo or 2 for my June Photo Challenge. I realize I haven’t posted a pic since last Thursday, so I have some catching up to do…couch potato strikes again.

But first! I must recount my workouts for the week (#7 of the 10K training plan). It was a week full of errands and obligations that totally messed up my training schedule, but somehow I did manage to squeeze in a treadmill run on Tuesday (2 miles). Then this past Saturday I ran 3 miles and Sunday I dominated a 60 minute run! Oh yes I did! Ok, dominated may be too strong a word. How about – I didn’t pass out or hobble my way to the end? I totally forgot to bring my phone, so I wasn’t able to track my mileage, but I guesstimate it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5.5 miles. Sh*t yeah! I’m proud. Pat on the back. Can I run for an hour? Why yes. Yes I can. That’s a pretty decent accomplishment and I’d like to bask in that for a moment…Ok thanks. Moving on…

Photo challenge catch up! Last week I left off on Friday June 6th. That just so happened to also be high school graduation night, so I was a bit busy with all kinds of celebration and merry-making. I snapped this photo at the beginning of the day. I should have snapped another at the end because all that craptastickness was crossed off! Booyah!!

Day 6 (List) #shrinkingjeans

Day 6 (List) #shrinkingjeans

These are my new favorite weights. I just started learning how to use a kettle bell and it is a serious cardio and strength workout. I love that I can get a good, sweaty workout done in just a few minutes with these babies.

Day 7 (Weights) #shrinkingjeans

Day 7 (Weights) #shrinkingjeans

Here’s a great quote that I have totally been living by recently. Since running 4  miles and now 60 minutes (holla!), I have a new appreciation and respect for my legs. They’ve always been something I’ve been self-conscious of, but now I’m beginning to love them. My legs are strong and healthy and will carry me through that 10K in a couple of weeks. I just know it. (Of course they are also covered in itchy mosquito bites, but that’s just ‘cuz I’m so sweet. Or something.)

Day 8 (Fitspiration) #shrinkingjeans

Day 8 (Fitspiration) #shrinkingjeans

And today’s photo is of my peanut. My baby girl. My monkey. This is Lotus acting like the maniac that she is. She is a girl who cannot resist the lure of the hose. I just love this picture of her.

Day 9 (Movement) #shrinkingjeans

Day 9 (Movement) #shrinkingjeans

That’s it for now. I’m off to play connect the mosquito bites…

k

June Photo Challenge – Day 5

Today’s theme is “My View”, and I could have taken this photo any number of places: my counseling office where I meet with students, the waiting room at the dentist’s office – where I wiled away 2 and a half hours of my life that I will never get back – but my student did follow through on something he was deathly afraid of, so…there’s that. But honestly I wanted to take a photo of my happy place. The place I look forward to coming to at the end of every exhausting school day.

Day 5 (My View) #shrinkingjeans.net

Day 5 (My View) #shrinkingjeans.net

This is my back yard and my elder dog, Lotus. She’s probably rolling in something dead, but doesn’t she look cute?? My dogs crack me up on a daily basis. I love to sit and watch them play. Except for today when I could only sit outside for all the time it took to snap this photo because the effing mosquitoes were biting my fingers. I kid you not. My fingers. It’s absolutely ridic.

And I would also like to give a shout-out to my Gram who’s 98 today. Happy Birthday Gram! You’re the cat’s pajamas!!

And now I’m off to slather myself in calamine lotion because I’m oh-so-itchy…

Workouts and a Photo Challenge

This week’s post is a two-parter. First let’s focus on the workouts, cuz I’m feeling pretty good about my 10k training so far. I’ve been progressing through my training program, following it pretty closely, but not perfectly. Life gets in the way, ya know how that goes… This past week I was able to get out and run 3 times – a 3 miler, a 40 minute (3.5 miler), with the longest run yesterday. I dominated 4 whole miles! Well, if by dominated I mean I ran at a snail’s pace, then yes! That’s what I did! In addition to that awesomeness, I also did this strength workout twice:

courtesy of carrotsncake.com

courtesy of carrotsncake.com

I used a 15 pound kettle bell and it kicked my ass. Holy smoking quads, Batman! I was able to do 10 rounds (that’s 100 reps, folks).

And on another completely random topic. No decent segue here I guess…

I enjoy taking photos, although you couldn’t really tell from this blog. But my Facebook and Instagram accounts are chock-full of more pictures of my pups than anyone wants to see. By some stroke of fortuitousness (huh?) good luck today I received 2 different photo challenges. If anyone wants to join in go to www.shrinkingjeans.net and/or www.carrotsncake.com. Perfect timing, I thought. I may follow one plan or I may pick and choose. Who knows?! I’m wild and crazy like that!

Since it’s June 2nd, I’ll post 2 photos and be all caught up.

Here’s the first, taken yesterday, June 1st: Morning Me

 

Morning Me (Day 1)

Morning Me (Day 1)

This was taken right after my 4 mile run. And it just goes to show what a complete dork I am. I have no idea how to take a decent selfie, obvs. You didn’t think I was going to post my morning hair did you?? Or anything prior to coffee, because that would be horrifying for all involved.

Moving on to today: June Goals

Photo Challenge June 2014

June Goals (Day 2)

Yes, my big goal for the month is the 10K on the 29th. I am determined to run it from start to finish. I am not concerned about time, because for me it’s all endurance and proving to myself that I can. do. this.

And I am doing this. I just banged out 4 miles like, well, like it was running 4 miles. It wasn’t easy is what I’m saying. But I’m feeling proud and determined. And really thankful that my body and my legs are healthy and strong.

That is all. Peace out.

K

Last Week’s Workouts – Week 5

Last week’s workouts (week 4) were impressive for a couch potato like me. This past week’s, however left something to be desired. I had another 4 runs scheduled but only completed 2. Whomp whomp. But I added a strength workout as well, so that doesn’t suck.
The truth is that my week was self-induced stress with IEP meetings, difficult parents (not mine. Mine are beautiful. Love you!) and a death in the family. A good workout would have alleviated some of the stress, and I know that. But knowing and doing are two different things. Plus wakes and funerals and visiting with family takes time. Time away from exercise.

Despite all of that…here’s what I accomplished:

  • Monday – strength
  • Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday – dog walks and stress eating
  • Saturday – 3 miles/35 minute training run
  • Sunday – 4 mile/45 minute training run

My strength routine was something I made up:

  • 50 reps or seconds of each exercise with 15 pound weights:
  1. squats
  2. lunges
  3. plank
  4. mountain climbers
  5. pushups
  6. wall sit
  7. triceps
  8. biceps
  9. step ups
  10. balancing dead lifts

It was an ass-kicker; much tougher than I thought.

Today is the start of a new week (#6 of the training plan) and tougher workouts. I’ve got longer runs (buh-bye 2 milers…you’re my warm up now). But I am ready. Even though I only did 2 of the 4 scheduled runs, I purposely did the 2 toughest. I didn’t wimp out. My mantra was “finish strong” and I ended up picking up the pace for the last 1/4 mile of both runs. Pat on the back…

And today being Memorial Day means we have a picnic to attend. Bob’s been smoking brisket since yesterday and our whole neighborhood smells like smoked meat (in the best possible way). I’m looking forward to playing with my nieces and nephews, avoiding the chips and dip, and remembering Tom Coogan: family friend, godfather/grandfather, Marine, World War II and Korea veteran, and beautiful soul. You will be missed.

Hope everyone has a lovely day.

Last Week’s Workouts

Hello!

I am training for my first ever 10K in June, and so I intend to stick to my training plan like peanut butter to a bagel. I just completed Week 4 of the plan I’m currently using (courtesy of http://www.marathonrookie.com) and it went as follows:

  • Monday: Run 35 minutes (2.76 miles)
    Tuesday: Run 2 miles (in 22 minutes)
  • Wednesday Thursday Friday (rest? What happened???)
    Saturday: Run 30 minutes (2.64 miles)
    Sunday: Run 3 miles (in 34 min)

In addition, every morning before school I walked/got dragged by my dogs.  And I planned to get to a yoga class and do some strength training, but somehow that didn’t happen. Whomp whomp. Excuses, galore if you’re interested. But ultimately I got my 4 – count ’em! – 4 runs in last week and that feels pretty effing excellent.

I did invest in a new pair of kicks last week too. Back when I first started this running thang I went to a running store and had my gait evaluated and my first pair of shoes ended up being Asics. I loved them but replaced them with lots of other brands since then. All in the name of saving a few dollars. The fact is that Asics are the best running shoe I’ve tried to date. When I started to feel pain on the outside of my foot the other day (running in Sauconys I bought on super sale at TJ Maxx), I realized I have to go back to what works. So I ordered the Asics Gel Nimbus 15 from zappos.com and got them in 2 days. And my two runs this past weekend were great.

Lest you think my inner couch potato has been neglected, I’ll have you know I also finished watching seasons 3 of Downton Abbey (Matthew! Really?!?!), and started season 1 of Grimm (so far so good), finished the Divergent trilogy (meh). I guess I don’t really understand why those books are so popular because they didn’t really do it for me.  And The Fault in Our Stars (Love. So clever. So witty. So sad. So lovely. Read it. Please.). So I guess I’m looking for a new book too. For when I’m resting my hard-working legs after my runs. Or something.

BOOM! Bring on week 5 baby!

 

An Open Letter To My Nemesis: Fear

Dear Fear:

Since I signed up for the 10K and the half marathon, I have been running regularly two-three times per week (yay!), which is more than I’ve run in several weeks months. But I have also been FREAKING OUT. What have I done???? Who do I think I am? I can’t run a half marathon. I’m not a runner. I’m certainly not an athlete. AAAHHHHH!!!!! What makes me think that I, lowly couch potato-like human, can actually follow through and run 13.1 miles? I’m too old, too weak, too lazy, too _____.

And then…I took a breath and I got over myself.

I banish thee foul thoughts! And while it is true I cannot run a half marathon at this time, that’s why I have a training plan. Can I do the training run scheduled for today? Why yes I can. So does that make me a runner? Why yes it does. Does it make me an athlete? Welp, we’ll have to wait and see. I want to think so. If only being an athlete was just a state of mind…

As for the foul thoughts about my age, my strength, and my willpower…I can’t do anything about my age. I’ll be 44 when I step into the corral to run the half marathon in October. I could quit, give up, not bother to try because I think I’m too old. But I am running now (at 43 and 3/4), and there are lots of people a lot older than I who run marathons and ultras and all kinds of things. I did not see an age limit listed when I signed up for the race, and I know I won’t be oldest person there. There was no box to check that said “If you are over the age of 43 and 3/4 then go sit on your couch because you are TOO OLD”. They wanted my credit card info mostly. And another thing…if I chicken out now that will make me even older when I summon up the courage to try again. As for the strength and willpower…those are skills. I am improving – getting stronger both mentally and physically. I’m working on the willpower not to eat an entire pizza in one sitting, for instance. Then BOOM! Look at me! I am kicking ass and taking names.

So, Fear, this letter is part thank you for the gift of being afraid and part middle finger because I will not bow down to you. I believe that this insecurity, this anxiety, this temporary freak-out will only help me. I am not paralyzed with fear of failure (or success?) I am motivated by it. I have to focus on the mile I am running, not on the whole. I can do that. And maybe stick to two slices of pizza.

run the mile

So thank you Fear, but with all due respect go eff youself. I gotta run.

Karen

 

The Couch Potato Strikes Again

Aside

Hello Dear Reader(s)!

I have not fallen off the face of the earth, but have been laying low. Low on motivation, low on goal-setting, low on exercise, low on ideas to write about. Just feeling low… Honestly I wasn’t sure what I was doing with this blog or where it was headed. It occurred to me that I originally wanted this blog to help me be accountable, but it hasn’t been working. I really need a trainer, or someone to be accountable to, because working solo ‘aint actually cutting it.

So…I got in touch with a fitness fanatic/trainer extraordinaire friend of mine and told her that I have a goal to run a half-marathon, but I just can’t seem to get myself moving to do it. She asked me when the race is. Derp. Ummm…In my mind. In the foggy vagueness of the “future”.

So Step one: Pick a race. Done. I picked the ING Half Marathon in Hartford, CT on October 11, 2014. It’s a good 5 1/2 months away, which means either: plenty of time to build my base, or plenty of time to procrastinate. Ever the optimist I am hopeful it will be the former. But in reality it gives me time to do both. And that’s what will happen. I’ll be all gung-ho now and then bored, tired, and lazy in a few weeks, etc. etc. into oblivion. How do I avoid that? Must outsmart myself. So I recruited a fellow fitness enthusiast and sometime-runner buddy to do the half and she’s up for it. Yay! Accountability.

Step two: Sign up for an interim race. Done. I’m going to do the Chasing the Sun virtual 10k on June 29th. This will keep me motivated for the next 2 months, and give me the confidence to keep training for those longer runs throughout the summer. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

Step three: Take a breath and try not to panic. Right now I’m securing a support network of past marathoners, trainers, and friends, and now sharing this big news with all of you (or both of you) to help me stay on track and do this thang!

Step four: Summon my mental courage. I mean this has been a goal of mine for years, but I never had the courage to do it. Sh*t just got real. I paid real money for this. More importantly I’m sick and tired of letting myself down. And I’m sick of the fear. Do I believe I can do this? Yes. Yes I do. For now it’s just time to get over myself.

obstacles

It Was the Best of Runs, It Was the Worst of Runs

Today was the virtual 10k that I signed up for back in January. I had to make the difficult and frustrating decision not to push for the 10k due to medical reasons. I have to listen to my body; I’m not 23 anymore. I have a mortgage and a job and bills. I know I’m not invincible. So I downsized to the 5k. I didn’t do any preparation for it – in that I didn’t run at all until today.

Race swag

Finisher’s medal, t-shirt, and swanky skin care swag

Today was bitterly cold. And windy. And icy. I’m lucky I didn’t break my coccyx. But I did it. I got out there and ran with the wind in my face. The whole time. At least that’s how it felt anyway. My legs were heavy, my pace was slow, but I ran and I finished and I was so proud of myself. I am proud of myself. I was nervous to get out there because I didn’t know what I was going to be able to do, but I figured worst case scenario I walk the 3.1 miles. Aint no thang. And my start and end point was the bagel place by the bike trail, so I was going to have my bagel and latte no matter what. That was my mantra when my teeth were chattering and the wind was freezing my brain: “bagel and latte, bagel and latte”. It seemed to propel me toward the finish line.

Finished!

With my finisher’s medal and my pal Dio

5k results

I wish I could bottle the excellent feelings I have right now. While I was running I kept wondering what the hell I was doing. But now that I’m done I just feel really jazzed that I did it. And the fact that the weather was so brutal makes my victory all that sweeter. I am more motivated to get out and run than ever before. Now I know I can.

What’s on the agenda for the rest of this beautiful Sunday?

  • Netflix by the fire. I earned some well deserved couch potato time.
  • Laundry
  • Corned beef and Harpoon Long Thaw (seems appropriate today)
  • Hot tubbin’!!
  • NCAA Tournament Selection Show. Go UMASS!