Tag Archives: Treadmill

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,  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! 🙂

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

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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 😉

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!

Toys 4 Tots Race Recap

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This afternoon, my dad and I ran in the Toys 4 Tots 5k at Innsbrook in Richmond. I’ll be brutally honest from the get-go: I barely prepped for this race. Of course, we weren’t participating competitively. We ran in it to improve our time (he set a 34-minute goal for us) and to help out some kids who aren’t as fortunate come Christmas time. When I say I barely prepped, I mean that I had good intentions last week, but I experienced a few hiccups. Then, I came home on Thursday and I didn’t fit a single workout into my weekend.

I know every runner is different, but my pre-race breakfast is usually pretty big. This morning I had a Greek yogurt topped with pomegranate arils and granola, a hearty bowl of Cheerios topped with fresh sliced banana, a cup of coffee, and a bottle of water. That was about 10:00; like clockwork, I was hungry again at 11:30, so I whipped up some sliced Asian pear with crunchy PB. [Side note — you’d think that among all these meals I’d be as big as a house, but I’ve actually lost 3 more pounds!] Then, because my blood sugar is about as predictable as an active meth lab, I packed one of my favorite KIND bars in case I needed it before the race.

Rather than focusing on completing 3.1 miles in 34 minutes, we decided to set a pace that was comfortable for us, and then pick it up toward the end. At our last 5k, we accomplished our goal of 35 minutes by the skin of our teeth. I had yet to be able to shave off a whole minute from my time in the gym, where the treadmill provides me consistency, level ground, and a constant pace. As I also mentioned, I hadn’t done a great deal of prep work or training… or any at all. I wasn’t confident going into it, but I was certainly willing to try.

We stretched at home, we stretched at the race, and then we stretched some more. I knew for a fact I was hydrated; I woke up twice in the middle of the night to pee, I had to go three times before we left the house, and I (reluctantly) used the Port-o-Potties twice before the race started. I wasn’t taking any chances today. I knew I was well-fueled and mentally prepared.

I felt GREAT for the first mile or so. After we passed the water station, I started cramping a bit. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle, so I put it out of my mind and on we ran. As we rounded the halfway markers, I told myself what I always do at that point: Less than halfway to go now. I asked Dad, “What’s our time?” and he said we were at 19 minutes. I didn’t know how that could be, since I knew we were keeping a pace faster than we ever had, and I knew how good I felt mentally and physically. He said, “It’s all downhill from here!” meaning that figuratively, he was encouraging me as I had pep-talked myself.

It was an out-and-back course, so as we passed the water station again, I asked for a time-check. He said we were at 34 minutes. My heart sank. How could we be at 34 minutes with more than half a mile to go and at the pace we had kept? I even felt as though we had picked it up on the second half, even though the course was slightly uphill on the second leg. As we rounded one of the last corners he said, “About a quarter-mile to go. You’re doing great.” At that point, I was ready to be finished running, my lungs were burning, and my calves were starting to feel the brunt of pounding pavement.

Then, we crested the last hill into the finish line… and I saw the clock — 33:25. He lied! We had 35 seconds to cross the finish line, and about 50 yards to go. I said, “RUN!” and we high-tailed it across that line. As it turns out, we were at just over 16 minutes at the halfway point, and when I asked for the second time-check, we were at about 28 minutes. He told me later that he didn’t know whether his strategy would serve as a motivator or a disheartener, but I think it worked quite well for me!

Our “official” time was 33:57, but Dad had clocked us on his watch from start to finish because we weren’t at the front of the pack when the race started — 33:46 — our best time yet! I tried to let the glory of our accomplishment sink in as we walked around and stretched out. We found a water station and grabbed half a banana and a Fig Newton bar each. I think I was still in awe as we made our way to the car and watched fellow racers rounding the last turn.

As always, my only real goal was to run the entire race without stopping. We accomplished that and then some! God will probably smite me for skipping church, but I think He’s proud of us for kicking ass today 😉 Nobody was able to come to the race with us, so I asked my mom to take a picture of us in our race regalia when we got home:

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Happy Sunday, blends! I’m off to Brio Tuscan Grille for dinner and drinks with my parents and some friends from church before a concert at the University of Richmond!