Tag Archives: Training

There’s No Good Title for This Post

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I feel like by now, I should know that when I toss around words like “normal” or “routine,” my week will be anything but.

Monday, I developed a headache midway through the workday, but I was pretty well able to ignore it… Until it turned into a full-blown migraine after dinner. I was in bed by 9:00 and I couldn’t have been more grateful to myself for having picked out my outfit, packed my gym bag, and packed my lunch in the afternoon. Being proactive (read: OCD) pays off ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tuesday, my mom and Caroline and I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at a Richmond-area church whose choir director was Caroline’s and my childhood choral conductor, and whose drama production manager is the current drama lady at my former high school. The musical (a.k.a. rock opera) was phenomenal, and it was hard to believe Jesus, Judas, and Mary Magdalene were played by high-schoolers!

Wednesday, I started to get that itchy, tickly throat I often get before a major cold, sinus infection, or allergy attack knocks me on my ass. Nothing ever really came of it, but I still felt like someone was progressively sucking the energy out of me as the day wore on. I had all but resigned myself to skipping the gym when I started to feel guilty… and I went anyway. I didn’t feel one bit like running, so I hopped on the bike and spun for about 30 minutes.

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While I was having a private pity party, a news feature popped up about Annette Fredskov, a woman who recently completed 366 (three hundred and sixty-six) full marathons in 365 days, finishing strong with a double-marathon. I thought, if this crazy bitch can run 26.2 miles every single day, how come my procrastinating butt can’t even train for 13?!

I’ve realized recently that no matter what I choose to train for, I’ll always feel like exercising differently. Training for something gives me incentive to push myself and try for harder and faster and longer and more difficult, but it also causes me to grow weary of that particular event. For example, today I “cross-trained” by swimming a mile:

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(i.e. putting off half training for one more day, but still getting good exercise and calling it race prep).

If I were training for a competitive swimming event, I would probably find excuses to run or hop on the elliptical. Swimming is just such a fantastic total-body workout, and it really melted my stress away after a long and difficult work week.

See what I mean? ๐Ÿ˜‰

#FirstWorldProbs at their finest: not knowing which elective exercise to perform when.

My throat still hasn’t felt any better over the past three days, though I have been downing this stuff and as many fluids as possible…

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…while pretending I’m naive to the fact that my body will excrete whatever it can’t use. Curse you, vitamin C threshold.

Getting to sleep by 10:00-10:30 every night doesn’t hurt, either, nor does not having much on my plate for this weekend. In fact, tonight’s activity of choice is studying for the CPCE I am scheduled to take August 24. What a delightful Friday evening! Ha…

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May your throat feel less scratchy than mine; may your Friday night be more adventurous than mine; and may your weekend be just as free and relaxing as mine. Ta ta!

Gym Hiatus, Over

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I got back into the gym yesterday after having been out for more than two full weeks due to our family lake-cation and then my first week of work plus Bible School last week. I was anticipating a difficult run, but I surprised myself by not only powering through 3.2 miles in 34 minutes, but breaking my PTR for a 5k! I wish that in real life, my body kept me at the steady pace the treadmill does… But I guess that’s part of the “fun” in the challenge of competing in races.

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I am not above the post-workout sweaty selfie. I guess I'm not above not having friends, either...

I am not above the post-workout sweaty selfie. I guess I’m not above not having friends, either…

Today, I was able to get in 28 laps in the 25-meter pool before the teenage lifeguards up on their high-horses blew their whistles with all their might, acting like the British were coming over a few rumbles of thunder. Swimming is my favorite form of cross-training, and probably the only sport at which I’ve ever felt I was good.

I’m not nearly on the pace of my half-marathon training schedule that I’d like to be. However, my goal for June was to feel relatively comfortable running six miles at a pop; goal accomplished! My goal for July, then, was to feel comfortable running nine miles at a time. Not only am I nowhere near feeling comfortable with such a distance, I have never run as far! I’m hoping to get back on track with my training as soon as possible, though comfortability with nine miles in the next two weeks is probably not feasible.

Neither my half buddy, Lauren, nor I has maintained our training schedules as strictly as we would have liked to, and we’ll readily admit it. I’m glad that we’ve agreed to move our half back at least until October, which will give us more time to train, to save money, and to prepare ourselves mentally for the challenge which lies ahead. Neither of us wants to lose sight of the goal we set four months ago, but we also don’t want to pay good money to be unprepared for something that could potentially cause us injury. Kudos to all you working moms out there who train for marathons year-round; I have the ultimate respect for you and how much dedication it must take to be so disciplined!

In other news, I had a revelation recently. Pretty much up til now, I’ve blogged when I had “something to say.” I try not to post vapid, ย empty material that isn’t worthy of anyone’s time. Not every post needs to be pithy or tug at your heartstrings, either. I just want to strike a balance. It occurred to me, though, that plenty of my favorite bloggers write something simple every day (or almost every day) in an attempt to give readers a window in their everyday lives. I’ve decided that as long as time allows, that’s the kind of blog I want to maintain. Here’s to making an effort at blogging as often as possible to keep you updated on what I do day-to-day! ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. Is there anything in particular you’d like to see on SWASOV? I’m happy to oblige!

#SorryNotSorry

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Hellooooo, blends! Greetings from Duck, North Carolina!ย For the past week, Ian and his family and I have been basking in the glory of the Outer Banks.

I wish I had a series of really cool sunsets or a stingray catches or romantic-artsy pictures to show you, but really I’m just quickly checking in before dinner. I’m just not one of those people who remembers to carry a camera everywhere, or who is quick enough on the draw to capture every memory-worthy moment (#sorrynotsorry).

I apologize that I have been MIA from SWASOV for the past seven days (#sorrynotsorry), but OBX has been calling my name — and I have been answeringย big time!

I also wish that I had some behemoth healthy-living-while-on-vacation saga to share with you, but what I have really had are endless crab legs swimming in melted butter, maple Duck Donuts, steaks the size of Mini Coopers, local ciders, and a host of other foods that make my normal “diet” shudder with delight.

What I do have to share are a few self-surprises. For starters, Ian — who is beginning a 5k training program for a potential 5k in the fall — and I have run three mornings this week, and I have run four. Truly, before this vacation, I can honestly say I never would have pictured myself (1) setting an alarm to (2) get up early to (3) run (4) on purpose (5) during a beach vacation. Nevertheless, I could not be more proud of him for putting in 30-45 minutes each morning he ran… even if he was cussing and fussing, and I was yelling at him like a Nazi track coach.

Secondly, I have surprised myself by making instinctively healthy breakfast and lunch choices. I have chosen Chobani over a second doughnut, milk over coffee creamer, Quaker Oatmeal Squares over Apple Jacks, salad and hummus over leftover burgers, and (sometimes) baby carrots and celery sticks over endless chips and salsa. I can’t say the same about dinner, especially when fresh seafood was an option ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next, I have surprised myself by reading on the beach for hours a day. Normally, I tend to let the sound of the waves and the warmth of the sun lull me to sleep. No problem there, except that I burn faster than a steak on the grill, and I drowsily sleep the whole beach day away. This week, though, I’ve been reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult, which thus far is absolutely phenomenal. I want to strike that perfect balance between reading as much as possible about a subject that interests me (autism) without growing tired of reading about it (I’m not sure that’s possible).

Lastly, I have surprised myself by being excited about setting an alarm each morning to maximize my day and my time on the beach. Dad, as someone who believes “daylight’s burnin’,” I know you’ll appreciate this one! I literally never would have pegged myself for being someone who would enjoy setting an alarm on vacation…

Anyway, I just wanted to stop by briefly to thank you for stickin’ around while I’ve been gettin’ my tan on, drinking homemade pina coladas on the beach, and (for once) reading for pleasure! After this week, my summer gets crazily busy, but regular posting should resume. Ta ta!

Looking Too Far Forward

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Confession: Recently, I’ve been having a bit of trouble seeing the forest through the trees with regard to my fiance and our future.

I’ll think to myself (read: stage-whisper with contempt), If he doesn’t like eating quinoa now, he never will.ย 

If he doesn’t start running this summer, he’s never going to train for that 5k.

If he doesn’t make time to look at rehearsal dinner venues, we’ll never find one.

[It’s all very dramatic. Obviously.]

What it really boils down to is this: Somehow, through all my “drunk soapboxes,” low-blood-sugar-fueled-bitch-fests, and fits of frustration and selfishness, I have somehow held on to a guy who thinks I hang the moon. He’s patient, he’s thoughtful, he makes me laugh every single day, and I believe he would literally do anything for me.

So what’s the problem??

Instead of fretting that he’s a meat-and-potatoes guy who prefers French fries to quinoa, the world (most likely) isn’t going to stop turning if our carbs come from different sources.

If running isn’t Ian’s thing and his profession demands that he study from 8:00-6:00, it doesn’t affect my running schedule.

Just because we haven’t found a rehearsal dinner venue 16 months in advanceย yet doesn’t mean that everything is booked up. I should be thanking my lucky stars that I have a fiance who is interested in the planning, who renders legitimate and realistic opinions, and who is so much more than the stereotypical “Whatever you want, Dear” wedding-planning type.

Recently, I’ve been so focused on The Future and all of the difficult decisions and life changes it encompasses that I’ve completely forgotten to simply slow down and enjoy the moment with Ian, as clichรฉ as it sounds.

I’ve been much more wrapped up in the “what-ifs” and the unplanned aspects of our wedding than I have the fact that we are blessed enough to have families who get along splendidly with each other; the fact that we have parents who support our life decisions and our choices; and the fact that we are lucky enough to have hard-working families who are willing to give us the dream wedding we envision.

I’ve been concentrating so much on the next time I’ll see Ian that it causes petty disputes and unnecessary bickering that sometimes ruins the few hours we are spending with each other now.

I’ve been so caught up in my own head with decisions like Rent vs. Buy and Farmer’s Market vs. Whole Foods that sometimes I literally forget that I have another year of grad school — plus that all-too-important factor called GETTING A JOB — before any of this comes into play.

I need to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. This is my wake-up call to myself.

The point is, I need to focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t; the time we can spend together as opposed to the time we can’t; the aspects of our wedding we have planned as opposed to the minute details which can wait; and the positive, the good, and the fortune I have in my life as opposed to the things which, quite frankly, don’t matter.

I’m still a work in progress, but hey, it’s a start.

“The future depends on what you do today.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Just Because I Can

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Guys… I have Internet. For the first time in 12 days. Twelve.

Somehow, our home computer contracted a Trojan which affected the entire shebang, modem and Wifi included. The computer was repaired almost a week ago, but we weren’t able to get someone out here to fix the wireless Internet until today. The poor guy was here for almost three hours, but he fixed everything!

I can blog, I can check my email (for real), I can at long last conduct wedding business, I can obsessively check my grades… Life is good ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I’m blogging at 8:30 on a Wednesday night, just because I can.

Rather than try to tell you everything that’s been going on — because honestly, it hasn’t been much — I figured I’d show you.

Monday night, Mom and I made my version of “spaghetti” with meat sauce, consisting simply of minced fresh garlic, EVOO,ย sautรฉedย onion, browned lean beef, diced tomatoes, and spaghetti squash.

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On Tuesday, I won’t say whom, but Dad someone was walking around the kitchen not-so-quietly, so I was hopelessly awake at 6:15 a.m. Since I hadn’t been feeling my best on Monday, I decided to be productive Tuesday morning. I snuck out of the house, trying not to wake anyone, but stopped short when I saw that it was sub-40 degrees outside. I actually had to use my ice scraper to clear my windshields and windows before I could drive!

I kicked my own ass at the gym by accomplishing a mind-bogglingย PDR:ย sevenย miles!

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I planned to break my run down like so: run 1 mile, walk 30 seconds, run 2 miles, walk 30 seconds, REPEAT until I reached 7 miles… completely forgetting that the treadmills at this Y automatically throw the user into cool-down mode at 45 minutes. I had to alter my run a bit, including completely stopping and restarting the machine. All in all, I ran 7.34 miles (warm-up, running portions, walking portions, a 3-minute stop, and cool-down) in ~91 minutes.

My legs felt like jelly when I finally stepped off the treadmill, but I felt incredible. Those 13.1 miles are looking less and less daunting with each new PDR! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This morning, I awoke to a (literally) answered prayer:

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Y’all… THE BACKSTREET BOYS ARE DOING A REUNION TOUR!!!

Finally. Nick, A.J., Brian, Howie, and Kevin [#notweirdatallthatistillknowtheirnames] have heard my prayers, and they’re even cruising with fans. AND, it’s the Millennium album. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Except that the cruise is in October. And I’m not 11 anymore. And probably everyone who is 11 and would actually be interested and available to go on this cruise is like, The Whatstreet Boys? Who?!

*Sigh.*

I guess Nick Carter really isn’t ever going to serenade me… even though now, he could serenade me while I sip a marg!

In other more realistic news, Dad and I signed up for our second 5k-a-month-all-summer 5k: the Richmond Firefighters Beat the Heat 5k in Shockoe Bottom.

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In glancing over last year’s results, it looks as though only about 350 people participate in this event annually. I’m completely fine with that, because we are looking to improve our time and just get out there and move. I ain’t lookin’ to make friends, ya dig?ย 

I kid.

Lastly, I finally satisfied my week-long craving for my favorite Tropical Smoothie smoothie, Mango Magic. I’ve been running errands with Mom all week, and we haven’t been anywhere near a Trop-Smooth. Today, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, so I indulged. Mmm, mmm, mmmm!

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In all honesty, I thought I deserved a little treat for having eaten so cleanly this week, kicking ass on my run yesterday, and cross-training today by swimming 40 laps in 30 minutes. That half-marathon is not gonna know what hit it!

That’s about all that’s been happening around these parts. Thanks for hangin’ around Sarcasm while my little old blog was out of commission, and welcome to those of you who are new!

Question: What have you been up to this week?!

Shhh! It’s a Secret!

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Okay. I’ve figured it out.

The secret to running long distances, that is.

(And by “long,” I mean anything over 3 miles.)

(And by “secret,” I mean that gajillions of other runners have already discovered the groundbreaking, earth-shattering news I am about to share with you.)

When I was training for the 10k my dad and I ran last month, 6.2 miles seemed incredibly daunting. My mom kept reiterating, “You know, you can walk part of it…” and she’s exactly right.

But that just isn’t my style.

Before I ran that 10k, the furthest I had ever run was 5 miles. Even now, it is still one of my proudest fitness accomplishments. Running has granted me permission to learn so much more about myself than I ever would have thought possible. It’s a sport that challenges me mentally and physically in ways I had never considered before I began grad school. But, I digress. Six-point-two miles, I kicked your ass before you even saw it coming ๐Ÿ˜‰

When Lauren and I officially decided on the half-marathon we wanted to run and we began training two weeks ago, I found myself running safe distances. You know, distances I was already comfortable running. Three miles here, four miles there, maybe a five-miler to spice things up during a slow week. There was nothing impressive about my training, and certainly nothing that would lend aid to completing 13.1 miles in September.

On Monday, I decided I would attempt to run six miles — my furthest distance on the treadmill yet. I was pretty amped up about it, but ย also a bit anxious. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I got a stitch and had to stop? What if my legs gave out on me? What if a meteor hit my car? [That one’s for you, Dad ;-)]

I decided to put my fears aside, find a marathon of World’s Wildest Police Videos, and just go for it.

About a mile in, something happened that I hadn’t anticipated as my mind ran through a million what-if scenarios: I had to pee. Like, pretty bad.

[INSERT REVELATION]

I thought, What if I stop the treadmill but keep my iPhone running as a timer, take a picture of how far I ran before I stopped, and pick my run back up after I pee? In so doing, I broke my run into two legs, the first leg of which was 2.55 miles; the second, 4 miles exactly. Do you know what those two distances equal, folks?

Half of a half-marathon!

All told, I warmed up, ran the first leg, took a 3 minute restroom and hydration break, ran the second leg, and cooled down in 83 minutes. Ho. Ly. Shit. What a revolutionary idea — breaking running long distances into shorter legs?? Who woulda thunk?!

My excitement over this miraculous idea, plus my impromptu novice yoga sesh, carried me over to yesterday — when I decided to try it again.

I marched into the gym, armed with a full bottle of ice-cold water, and just having used the bathroom. Twice.ย I found CSI: Miami on the TV, and off I went. Metaphorically, of course.

I broke yesterday’s goal of a 6-mile run into two 3-mile legs, because 3 miles seems to be my “comfort zone” distance. I started my iPhone stopwatch when I started the treadmill, and kept it running the entire time. I warmed up, ran the first leg, and then rested and hydrated for 2 minutes.

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Then I ran the second leg and cooled down.

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All told, 77 minutes.

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The second run was a bit more difficult because I had jelly legs for the first half-mile or so, but overall it went incredibly well.

I don’t plan to run the half in bursts like these, but training this way will give me several advantages: the distance won’t feel nearly as daunting because I’ll have broken it up in different ways throughout training; Lauren and I plan to walk through the water stations as opposed to trying to choke down a cup of water while running, so small breaks aren’t too far off from our plan of action; and I can shave time off of my now-goal of completing the half in under 2 hours and 45 minutes if I train with longer breaks between legs.

Well, blends, the cat’s out of the bag now. Aren’t you glad I shared? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a magnificent Thursday!

Lackluster 10k Training

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So, I’m running (running being the questionable word here) the Monument Avenue 10k in Richmond this coming Saturday. Last May, when I was preparing to run my first-ever 5k, I trained for 12 weeks. That may seem excessive, but that training program was one of the most disciplined and challenging fitness experiences I’ve ever had.

I ran a 5k in October and another one in January, and I didn’t officially train for either one. Dad and I were able to cross the finish line of all three, running the entire time. Ever since my first 5k, that’s been my ultimate goal. In January, we even worked on improving our personal best time because we were confident we could run the whole thing.

This time around, though, I haven’t “trained” much at all. I went through a strength-training phase that lasted a few weeks, during which all I wanted to do was lift weights, practice lunges, and work on my core. I gained noticeable muscle definition and strength (don’t worry about your jaw dropping to the floor–I’m no Adonis), but my stamina didn’t improve whatsoever.

Usually, I’m all about cardio, but I tend to lean toward the elliptical.

In short, I’m not prepared for this 10k because I’ve been a bit lazy in the gym. A typical week in workouts looks like this:

Monday: strength-training session (30 minutes)
Tuesday: long-distance treadmill run (35-50 minutes)
Wednesday: elliptical workout (30-60 minutes)
Thursday: strength-training session (30 minutes)
Friday: zero
Saturday: zilch
Sunday: nada

I feel accomplished with a workout week like this, but it doesn’t help in terms of race preparation.

I’ve had several people tell me that the excitement on every block, the music pumping, and the spectators cheering helps runners not notice the distance of this particular race. Being that I’ve never surpassed 5 miles, I’m not so sure…

This week, I’m planning to run several days, do a bit of strength training to help my knees absorb the impact of running on concrete, and rest at least 36 hours prior to the race.

To say that I’m nervous about this race would be inaccurate. I’m more so excited and even a little bit anxious to see whether Dad and I can run the entire thing. Our goal is to finish in 70 minutes, though with 40,000+ participants, I’m not sure how we’ll fare even though we’re set to begin with other people running our pace.

Wish us luck! …just don’t tell us to break a leg ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.S. If you’re going to be at the race this weekend, let me know! Oh, and if you have advice about running a 10k or about training for future races, I’d love to hear it!