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Long run Saturdays

I did my second long run today of 8 miles. I already felt a lot stronger than last weekend, so it built up some confidence for me. I was pretty depleted after last weekend’s long run. I even got done with my run before it started raining.

My sweetheart usually makes me do 50 burpees when I return from a run. He’s great at forcing coaching me into pushing myself, to do uncomfortable things I wouldn’t normally do, like wall jumps, wall squats, or burpees. The good sport that he is, he usually does them with me. But today he didn’t make me do burpees. He let me off the hook because instead today we had to turn over the garden. I think I’d rather do burpees than dig in the heavy wet mud.

I love Saturdays…

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April running goals

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My March goals were pretty successful, establishing a base and running a 5K. But now it is time to move onto a new month. My April running goals all revolve around preparing for the Rock n Roll half marathon May 19.  I need to really build up some long runs, since I haven’t run more than 6 miles in a year. This past Saturday I did 8 miles and it went pretty well, I felt great the whole time and didn’t feel like it was a problem. But that afternoon I was exhausted and actually took a 2 hour nap! Obviously I am a bit out of shape for long runs.

I want to do another 8-miler this coming weekend, and then do two 9-milers, and then two 10-milers, as my long run training. I also plan to run once a week on my lunch break from work, which I just started doing. This will be my about-3-mile hill run each week. I also plan to do some specific interval training for pace, either on a track or treadmill.  This is probably my weakest link. I enjoy doing track training and I do well when someone leads me, but find it difficult to do on my own.

I’ve started kickball season. I play in a league and we’ve now started our 8-week season on Sundays. I figure that is a good activity to keep me moving but not too much effort after a Saturday long run.

Until next month… happy running.


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Lunchtime Running

I did something today that I’ve never done before. I went running at noon, in the middle of my work day.

Due to the slightly chaotic nature of my daytime job, I hardly ever take a lunch break. I’ll eat at my desk while I work or while I’m in a meeting. Taking an actual break is something I rarely do. And taking a full hour to actually go running has pretty much been unheard-of. But I decided to change all that, starting today.

I mean, why not? Magazines and such always say to schedule in your run just like any other appointment on your calendar. So why can’t that be at 12:00noon instead of at 6:00pm? It also strikes me as unhealthy to never ever take a lunch break.  And what about all the people that say a lunchtime run invigorates them and makes them more productive the rest of the work day?  Seems like a great idea, right?

I figured I could do this once a week without it being an issue at all. More than that and it might start meaning I work even later to make sure I get my work done, or people would start wondering where I am, or something. Or maybe not. But I guess we’ll find out.  Once a week for now, if I could do twice a week it’d be great.

My run was sandwiched in between two meetings. So I had exactly an hour of free time between 12:00 and 1:00.  I wasn’t planning on running for a full hour. Maybe for about 30 minutes. But I wanted a lot of time because I was so anxious about the logistics of it…. changing my clothes, getting out the door, getting back, taking a shower, getting dressed again, actually eating something, and getting to my next meeting on time without looking harried.

My Garmin wasn’t working because it couldn’t find a signal. But on Map My Run the course I did was 2.7 miles.  All on hilly terrain, which is one of the reasons I wanted to run at lunch. The area around my work is all hilly and a great course to practice running hills. Since I’m terrible at running hills this idea of lunchtime running on hills seems perfect to me.

It took me a full 45 minutes to change, run, cool down with a 10 minute walk up hill and up two flights of stairs back to the locker room, take a 2 minute shower, get dressed, fix my hair, apply mascara, and stroll on back to my office.  I actually would like to run more like 3 to 3.5 miles at lunch. So this would add a little bit more time but I think I can still do it in an hour. I run pretty slow on hills.  I was pretty anxious about how long I would be gone, mostly because of my 1:00 meeting.

So what about all you experts out there that do lunchtime runs all the time?

How do you fit it in?  Do you ever have trouble fitting it in due to work commitments? At what point does work “‘win” and you pass up a run, versus committing to your lunchtime run like any other meeting you need to attend?

What is the longest mileage/time you can do on your break and still get back to work?


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Shamrock Run 5K race recap

shamrock run 3.17.13

If you ever want to get up early in the morning and put on a ridiculous outfit, your local Shamrock Run is the place to do it.

I tell you, I had mixed feelings about doing today’s race. I haven’t done an organized race event in about a year and a half. So doing this one was just to “sign up for something” to get me excited about running again, and get back into the swing of things.

I had way more anxiety over this race than was rational. I actually woke up at 5am Saturday morning, thinking it was race day, freaked out that I didn’t set my alarm, didn’t lay out my clothes, didn’t prepare my breakfast, didn’t plan my commute, etc etc.

Then this morning I did the same thing. I woke early from an anxiety dream where again I woke up on time, but somehow took too long to get ready so I missed the race completely.

I kept telling myself (in normal waking hours) that this is just a 5K, piece of cake, nothing to worry about. Also, my plan was not to do any real specific training for this race, nor to have a goal.  The goal was really to establish a baseline, see where I am at, if I were to just go out and run a 5K without much training. So with no real goal, there should have been so pressure. Why the anxiety?

I’ve been running about 20-25 miles per week, all at slow paces around 9-11 minutes per mile. The plan was to establish a base, do this 5K, then make a plan for my next race, which is a Half Marathon I’m signed up for May 19.

So here’s how it turned out.

I actually felt pretty good the whole run. The first half mile was really a test at how good I was at maneuvering through the crowd. After that it cleared up and I could run at a steady pace I wanted without any congestion.  I ran at “comfortably hard” pace the whole time. I’ve always liked that description that most people use to explain “tempo”.  It’s a nice pace to run at, actually. Pushing yourself but not pushing yourself.

The real race results are not posted yet from the event. By my Garmin my time was 25:17, a 8:08 pace overall.

1st mile 7:54

2nd mile 8:15

3rd mile 8:17

.1 mile  0:53

I feel pretty good about this. Since I didn’t know what to expect, that’s actually pretty easy to feel good about it. But I also think that I can now start putting in some more serious weekly mileage, and do some speed work, and would be able to attain an 8:00 pace for the Half.

So how about you? Did you do a Shamrock Run in your town?

Many cities all over the nation do Shamrock Runs.

It’s one of the best excuses to dress up in ridiculous green clothing.


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March running goals

My February running goals got off to a little bit of a slow start.

I have a cherry tree in my yard that I bought as a seedling only a few inches tall. I’ve been babying that thing for four years. It’s now somewhere between 5-6 feet tall, and I’ve realized it is planted in exactly the wrong spot in my yard. So the decision came… do I move it?  It’s a good time to move it, since it hasn’t started any Spring growth yet. And by next year I think it will be too big to move.  OK so sounds like a good idea, right?  So out I go to move the cherry tree. I pulled my back out BAD which put me out for a good week. So I didn’t start the month off running very much.  But the tree looks great. It loves its new spot in the morning sunshine. I hope to actually get cherries off it this year for the first time.

After my back felt better I started into my new running routine.  I’ve been able to get in 15-20 miles per week. A decent slow, low mileage start. I’ve decided on a routine of running Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I find that to be successful with my work schedule and other things going on in my life.

My kickball Spring season starts March 24. So then I’ll be spending Sundays playing kickball. Kickball is fun and can wear you out a bit. It doesn’t really feel like exercise because you stand around so much not doing anything for a long time. But then you suddenly need to burst into a full-out sprint for short distances, and somehow that wears me out and burns my quads.

I’m signed up for Portland’s Shamrock Run March 17.  A lot of cities do Shamrock Runs, typically on St. Patrick’s Day or the Sunday prior. Isn’t everyone glad that this year the Shamrock Runs aren’t actually on the same day as Daylight Savings Time?!? I swear every time I’ve done a Shamrock Run it’s always on the change-the-clock-ahead-day. Lose an hour of sleep and get up extra early to run in the cold rain!  Good times!

I’ve also just signed up for Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon, which will be in Portland May 19. I was thinking about doing this for awhile now, and wasn’t really sure about it yet. But then I got one of those friendly reminder emails that are so helpful in letting you know that the price increases March 1.  So I signed up.

So now that I’ve got a half on my plate, I figure I better start running some actual long runs. I figure if I do somewhere in the 8-9 mile range in March, then I can do 9-10 mile range in April, maybe fit in one 11-miler. And I’d be plenty fine for a May half.

I don’t follow any prescribed training plan. I have some books and there are plenty of online resources that will put together a plan for you. I’ve read enough of them that I feel I can put together my own plan in a way that works for me.  What do you do? Do you follow a plan? Have a trainer make you a plan? Use one from the web? Make up your own?

As for my other fitness goals, I’ve not been doing push-ups at all, so as I type this I want to drop and do a bunch.  I’ve been doing my pull-ups on the open ceiling beams of my living room. Yes  my living room is still under construction (has been since last July). It’s great having open ceiling beams to use as a pull-up bar! It’s also right in front of my bay window so all my neighbors can watch me, shaking their head at the crazy girl doing pull-ups in the living room.

That’s it for now. Happy running!

Ceiling beams make a great pull-up bar

Ceiling beams make a great pull-up bar


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February Fitness Goals

My running has been inconsistent for a very long time. The more I think about it, I really think it’s because I haven’t done any organized race events, none in all of 2012. I used to regularly do a ton of all the local events. But last year, mostly due to my thin pocketbook (home remodel has really killed my bank account), race entry fees simply hadn’t been in the budget. I never realized how much of a motivator actually signing up for a race really is. I’ve just signed up for Portland’s Shamrock Run in March, and already I feel a new excitement.

Because my running has been so on-and-off, my goal for February is to just get back into a regular routine. Build a solid base of easy mileage, adding in a mix of hill workouts (via my trusty treadmill’s incline button), but without doing any speed nor tempo work, nor any really long miles.  Then I’ll run the Shamrock as a baseline test, just to see where I’m at, and make a plan from there.

The Shamrock has a 5K, 8K, and 15K. I’ve signed up for the 5K. I’ve usually done the 15K every year, with my ongoing goal (which I’ve come very close to but haven’t yet achieved) of finishing at an 8:00 min pace. But since I don’t think I’ll come anywhere close to making that time this round, I figure I’ll just do the 5K and see how I do.

Other than running, I’d like to do some work on strength training. Any strength training I’ve done has been even less consistent than running. When I look back through my fitness notes from last year, I see how far I’ve slipped.  At this time last year I was doing the P90X DVD series. I could do more reps with heavier weights than I can do today. It’s crazy how easily you lose fitness when you don’t consistently keep it up.

I’ve loaned all my P90X stuff to my brother in law. He’s had it all quite a while now, and I realize I may never get it back, unless he eventually reaches his bikini body by sometime this August. So getting back onto the P90X program is out. But I also think I’d rather start small. P90X is a pretty intense program, and I don’t want to do that much.  I’d rather start with smaller goals such as work on my pushups, which I can do anywhere with no equipment necessary. I’d also like to work on pullups again, and I have a crazy idea that I’d like to be able to leg-press my body weight (one day).  I have a long way to go with that one. But I’ve got to start somewhere, right?

So onward I go…


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Treadmill Love <3

treadmill

It’s Christmas all over again.

My parents bought me a treadmill for Christmas, and it has finally arrived!

This isn’t going to be a review of treadmills by any means, nor is it an endorsement of Livestrong products. The price was a steal, actually, all Livestrong products appear to be 50% off. Whether this is related to Lance’s recent confession of doping, or because the products itself are not selling, or the products aren’t very good, or they’re a bunch of New Years deals, or all coincidence, who knows. Who cares. Not me.

I’ve only used the treadmill once so far, for an easy 4-miler. It was sturdy and had all the buttons and adjustments I like to use. So I have no complaints about this treadmill and seems to be just like any reasonable treadmill. It’s not one of the super fancy expensive types, nor is it an El Cheapo. So I’m satisfied. It took about 30-40 minutes to assemble and was very easy.

I really like that it folds up when not in use. Since I have it in a small bedroom, being able to fold it up to walk around it really help make the space useable.

Why I love treadmills…

Running on a treadmill will never, ever match the pleasure and experience of running outdoors. But I’ve started using the treadmill more and more and have gotten over my initial hatred of them. Perhaps I am becoming a huge wimp in my old age, but if I have already made up my mind that I am simply not going to go out for a run, and the only reason is because it’s pouring rain or just too cold, then why wouldn’t I hop on a treadmill and get a workout in?

I also like the idea that I can walk when not actually “doing a workout”. I have a pretty sedentary job, and often feel cooped up all the time sitting around. Being able to walk while I play on the computer or browse a magazine or watch TV seems like a good idea to me.

I also like being able to adjust the inclines. It’s hard to go on a run and find nice rolling hills or steep inclines when you want them. I’m actually terrible at running uphill since I get so little practice at it. Whenever I’m on a race course with a hill that’s my biggest weak spot. So I’m looking forward to purposely practice running up inclines regularly.

I do have a gym membership, so course can use the treadmills there. But, I don’t know about all of you, but my experience is that often I’ll get all dressed up, go to the gym, and then have to stand around waiting for a treadmill to use. And I can’t go off and do other things like lift weights, or I’ll lose my spot waiting. I hate that.

So I’m looking forward to putting some good mileage on my new toy! I’ll let you know how it goes.

What about you?

Do you own a treadmill? Do you like treadmill running?