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Posts Tagged ‘running’

I went to my running class this morning. Getting up at 5:35am just doesn’t get easier, and even with the beautiful morning view, I still found myself wanting to head back to bed. Half the class I kept using “Starbucks” as my mantra to get through the sprints and rolling hills. By the end of the class I felt a hundred times better. More awake and alive than I’ve felt in days.

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Speaking of Starbucks I just tried a non-fat gingerbread latte. Absolutely disgusting. I don’t know why I do this. I love coffee, chai and once in a while a peppermint mocha or caramel macchiato. Anything else, is either too sweet or just gross to me. I’m trying to choke it down since I spent over $4 on the thing.

The past week I have felt exhausted. I’m talking can’t keep my eyes open past 8pm, with cranky moods and just groggy like I could nap anywhere at any time. I’m wondering if it’s a bit of a coffee withdrawal. During my week staycation I was drinking 3 LARGE coffees a day since I didn’t care what time I went to bed. I’ve cut it back down to 1-2. Also the latest I have slept in weeks happened this past weekend…that time would be 6:40am. I miss sleep.

I feel like I’m on the brink of change or in need of creating some goals again. On the 26th I’ll turn 29 and I just feel like I want to accomplish something in the last years of my 20s. Yeah, I complain about how crazy life is and then as soon as it settles into a routine, I want more. Typical.

I saw an acquaintance on Facebook who (my age) just completed an Ironman. Aside from how incredible I think she is, I’m flat out jealous. I’m jealous she had the balls to do it, to train like that and from what she showed – gave up free time, extracurricular activities, alcohol, etc. and I’m jealous she lives in Arizona/Colorado where training weather is much more stable than New England. I’m jealous she had the drive to get up some mornings at 3am to train and I complain about 5:35am wake-up. Man, 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 marathon sounds insane. It makes me want a goal again so badly. But it also reminds me why I honestly stopped doing triathlons. The part I liked and excelled at the most, the bike, became my biggest fear. In the last tri I did two summers ago, I witnessed a horrific bike crash that to this day I don’t know if the guy lived (I’ve tried to Google many times) and it just has put a fear in me that I can’t seem to let go.

To be honest, I really want to have some kind of fitness goal, and I get excited about potential races or opportunities. But then I think about how the Husband and I really might start trying to have kids come the new year… and how does that work? I just don’t know yet. Again, I feel like I’m in this weird waiting period.

I had a dream last night that I had a flesh eating disease. It was so vivid and graphic. At one point I kissed a guy on the cheek and then seconds later just his bone was showing. Then I went to talk to my Mom and old Director and I couldn’t get the words out and instead a surge of grey flesh shot out of my mouth. Like seriously, who has dreams like this? And why must I remember them?

I took Bentley on a 2 mile off leash hike over this past weekend with 7 other dogs. He was so incredibly well behaved, stayed close by, and kept “checking” in with me every once in a while. To say he had a ball is an understatement. He was almost comatose he was so tired afterwards which was honestly, nice for a change. He probably hated us however when we ended up at the emergency vet because of a tick half still in him (failed attempt at getting him out) and as new puppy parents not realizing that ticks usually die and get pushed out by their skin. Yay for spending $120 on future advice.

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My team at work may be asked to pilot “sharing space”. For example, if there are 8 of us, having only 3 workstations and rotating days to be in the office. I think I’m the only one who absolutely hates the idea. Sure I love working from home one day a week, hell maybe even two if needed – but more than that? 50% of my day is meetings and to do it remotely (while the rest of the project team is sitting in a conference room or on a video conference together) and building relationships via the phone or gotomeeting? Not my preference. Everyone will probably hate me for asking, but I’ll probably be the exception if they push this on us. I’ll work two days a week from home, but I just can’t do more than that. For my own sanity, for my Husband’s who needs to sleep during the day and for the sake of my work.

Is it lame to say that I love going to Puppy Kindergarten each week with Bentley? Well, I love it. I love watching Bentley play with the other dogs (in particular the cutest Bernese Mountain dog ever) and it’s such a good way for him to learn new social and mental skills (and to train me). Class ends this weekend and I think I’m going to sign up to start taking him to Wednesday night “Good Manners” classes that start in January.

Tomorrow, as in November 20th, is a date that used to give me a pit in my stomach. It’s the date that in 2009 I went with my friend V to see the second Twilight movie. B was in California visiting an old camp friend. And in what was one of the most surprising turn of events, much later that night at almost 3am I was on the phone with B as we broke up, both crying into the phone. The day after I spent my 25th birthday celebration in a hotel with my best girlfriends, and I sobbed myself to sleep. My God how life has changed. That girl, (I’m re-reading posts from the start of my blog right now) never imagined she’d be where she is today. You just never know. I’m so thankful and happy for the way life has turned out.

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The past 3 months I have had a minimum of two running days a week, every week. At least one of those days was usually in my running class, a mixture of sprints, hills, and half-miles for an hour.

I can honestly say, I am the strongest runner I have ever been.

I finally understand what it means to run at a conversational pace. So much so that I can run 5 miles without getting out of breath.

My half-mile time has gone from a struggled 4:45 to a I-could-probably-push-a-little-harder 3:30.

Sprinting above 8mph on the treadmill is my normal, pushing it to 9mph is more likely.

Running on treadmill inclines of 3% up to 11% is most definitely something I can do, and happens about once a week.

Running outside in 40 degrees, wind and rain is just another run.

Running outside in 95 degrees and little shade, is just another run.

Running before work is my ideal, but runs can be fit in anywhere throughout the day.

Strength training and stretching days are required each week to make my runs even stronger, whether I’m in the mood or not.

I get it. More so than I ever got it, or thought I got it, before. Running has never been easy for me, and probably never will be. Running is something I have to work hard at, consistently – through great runs and awful runs – to see progress. While I love strength training and kettlebells, running gives me endorphins like no other exercise ever has. It’s my “me” time. It’s when my anxiety, fears and thoughts all cluttered in my head slowly fade away, and I end my runs – whether a great run, or a meh run – feeling 200% calmer, grounded, optimistic and content.

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I would venture to say that at least 80% of any of my runs are mental.

Two weekends ago I ran a 5 mile race. I was running it with my cousin and promised to stay by her side. She hadn’t been running more than a few random miles here or there. She also spent a good part of the night prior drinking – so I knew the pace would be slow and it was my job to help motivate her through to the finish.

At 5:50am we got up, had some coffee and walked a little over a mile to the start in the rain, wind and 40 degrees temperature. As a Florida girl she wasn’t thrilled. I quickly became positive polly – telling her how good we’d feel when it was over, that we’d take it slow, that we’d be eating delicious food all day and we’d even have time for a nap. By the time we started I felt excited and warmed up.

It was the easiest run I have ever done. I’m sure the slow 11 minute mile pace and my recent running classes helped. However, this was the first race of my life I didn’t doubt myself at all. I never wanted to stop running, I didn’t feel tired, or gassed, in fact, I hardly felt my heart rate go up. Anytime I felt her slow down, I immediately kept pushing her to make it to the end. I felt like I could have run endlessly after crossing that finish line.

Fast-forward to this morning. Well, let’s start at last night. I’m fighting an awful cold (thank you Husband) and I’m getting my period. So last night I fell asleep around 10:00 or so hoping to get a good night’s sleep to kick this cold. I woke up around 12:30am and the husband wasn’t home yet (his night off, but the whole shift had gone to the Red Sox game then to watch the Bruins). Well the combo of clearly not enough time with him lately, waking up alone (on his night off), feeling sick and getting my period turned into a sob fest for the next hour in bed. When that was finally done, I grabbed a mug of hot water to help my scratchy throat and played candy crush until the husband came in too. I probably fell back asleep around 3:30am.

At 5:50am my alarm went off to go to running class. I seriously debated not going – but deep down knew the one thing that would probably put a positive spin on the day was this class, so I got up. I went into the class telling myself any run at all was a victory, if I had to stop it was OK, and if it wasn’t my best time that was OK too.

I ended up feeling really strong, and made it through every sprint and every hill circuit. I even found the energy to push up my sprint paces at the end of class.

There’s something about putting pressure on myself – to make a run the best run, or to not stop or walk, or to make it at a certain pace that apparently drags me down mentally and ends up ruining my run.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start running again for fun. I’m going to be all positive polly with myself and remember that any run, is a great run.

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This morning I ran a 5k. It’s my first race since the Boston bombings and I knew it might be an emotional one, especially since it’s a run dedicated to fallen marines. Marines and military were everywhere and the air was emotionally charged.

Originally I went into this run with my old PR time in the back of my head. In my six years of running I’ve never beat it. But once I got to the race I decided, I wanted to run this one just for me. I wanted to run for those who aren’t running or can’t run. And so I turned my run keeper app off, bumped my music up and just took it all in.

The first mile flew by. That never really happens but I felt really good. My running class full of hills made this flat out and back run seem much easier. The wind was at my back, the ocean at my side, people running in Boston strong shirts, marines in formation and a drizzle that started to hit. I choked up at one point, I knew I probably would, but it took a lot to stop myself from actually crying (which was causing my nose to run, and my lungs to close a little).

Then the turn around at 1.5 miles came. The wind that was at my back was now pushing me back. My legs felt heavy, my period that came last night wasn’t helping and the coffee before the race was causing some unfortunate feelings. At mile 2 I considered walking a little.

But I didn’t want to. I knew I wanted to put my all into this, whatever time I got, I wanted to finish strong.

I grabbed a quick cup of water from the stop, took a sip, and dumped it on my head to cool down my body in the humid air. I just wanted the sky to open up and downpour on us.

The finish came faster than I had remembered in years past. When I saw the finish line I pushed, I didn’t think I was up for it, but I pushed. I beat my time from this same race last year by a minute and a half. I beat my time from this race when I did it 3 years ago (during tri training) by 3 seconds.

I haven’t felt that amazing finishing a 5k since my first ever race, my PR. And while I wish I could end this post with saying I beat that time too, I did not.

I missed it by 10 seconds. 10 fucking seconds, argh!

Had I not gotten water? Had I pushed it a little harder in the end? Had I started out a little faster?

In the end I don’t want to focus on that. I’ll sign up for another 5k soon and beat my time.

This is my second best 5k time in my 6 years of running. This is my first run under my new name. This is my first run, among everyone in Boston, after the tragic events last month. And you know what? I finished strong. Boston strong.  

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Tuesday night I headed to my running class after work. The regular instructor was out so my Monday trainer filled in and taught the class. I knew the second I saw her walk in, that she would be torturing us.

I wasn’t wrong.

After a few minutes of warm-up and incline runs, she said we’d be doing tabata interval sprints at a 12% incline. 20 seconds sprinting on the 12% incline, then 10 seconds rest – jumping to the runners – before jumping back on for another 20 seconds – repeated for what felt like 1 million times. I’m not going to lie, immediately I didn’t want to do it. Sprinting at a 12% incline sounded insane and jumping on and off for intervals sounded even worse.

But I did it. Not once did I walk, not once did I skip it, and not once did I reduce that incline. I pushed myself as hard as I could, far out of my comfort zone.

And you know what? It was probably one of my best workouts to date. I left feeling amazing (although so ridiculously sweaty I had to take an unplanned rinse in the gym showers –  going home undergarment-less) and now it’s the type of interval I want to add more often into my routine. I feel like 20 minutes of that would burn more calories, and increase my running time faster than my consistent slow 5k days.

Then yesterday I had my staff presentation. I had to sit in front of hundreds of people waiting to present my slides. All day my hands were sweaty, it was all I could think of and review in my head – and I kept praying that it would get cancelled or postponed. After a long day of waiting, I found myself getting micro phoned up (something I’ve never had done before) and handed a high-tech slide changer.

I think I started shaking while I sat in that chair looking out to the audience, waiting. And then it was my turn.

I started talking and the voice that came out, was not at all what I imagined as compared to how I felt inside.

Confident. Polished. Prepared.

I didn’t once look at my notes. I fumbled a word or two, but I sort of laughed it off and kept going.

And then what felt like seconds later it was all over. People clapped. People came up afterwards to tell me how poised I was. One director said she couldn’t believe it but that I didn’t say “Umm” once. Another said he couldn’t believe how slowly and clearly I spoke (saying I’m normally a fast talker is an understatement).  People have emailed me since, others have said job well done in passing in the elevator. I’m overwhelmed, in the best way possible.

That was probably the scariest thing I have done yet in my career and I was relieved when it was over. I was proud – I am proud –  even though there are things I would do differently now knowing how it went.

All in all, right now, I feel damn good.

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The Husband and I had the movie The Hurricane on in the background last night while we were cooking and chatting. At one point Denzel talks about the power of writing and the influence and impact of words. I can’t remember the exact quote, and I can’t find it anywhere but as he was saying that, the Husband turned to me and said, “That’s how you feel about writing”. I was taken aback that he pinpointed that, but he’s right.

When I can’t talk, I write. When I can’t be in reality, I read. Words for me are powerful, healing, and releasing. And so today, I’m going to just sit and write.

I went to my running class this morning. I’m so glad I did. Talking with a few women and then pushing harder than I ever have, or could have imagined during sprints – felt amazingly therapeutic.

I signed up for two races. A 5k in a few weeks honoring fallen marines and donating money to scholarships for their children. And a 5 mile race through the city of Boston honoring fallen law enforcement. There’s a bit of a pattern to the races I’ve picked and these are races that I will feel honored just to be a part of.

And today, as I was sprinting the half-mile run portion of class (between sprints, and incline intervals, we run a half-mile as fast as we can for time – it’s really fun…not) I realized that this 5k in about 3 weeks – could be my time to surpass my PR. I’ve never beat my original 5k time from back in March of 2008 – my first ever race and 5k and I want to. Badly.

Truthfully, I’m not sure I’ve ever really tried, or trained properly to try. I think with my current running classes, among strength and yoga classes, I have a real shot.  I think it’s also a huge part, mental. The 5k is the worst distance for me. I feel like I’m just warming up and getting into a groove when I hit 3 miles – so really – the whole thing feels brutal and then just as I’m starting to feel good, I have to sprint across the finish line.

I’m finally putting in the work to beat that time. I think mentally, I’m there too – and on that day – I’m going to be ready to push it.

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Monday: AM: 60 minutes strength
Tuesday: PM: 60 minutes running/strength class
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: AM: 60 minutes running/abs class / PM: 60 minutes Hatha yoga
Friday: PM: 30 minute walk
Saturday: AM: 45 minutes spin / 60 minutes gentle yoga
Sunday: 25 minute walk

My second week (here’s one) went really well and a few things on my mind…

I love my running classes. I have two separate running classes – my first one, on Tuesday evenings that is a combo of strength (weighted lunges, skull crushers, planks, push-ups) and running (intervals, sprints, mile repeats) with an instructor who I would say is the Jillian Michaels at my gym. The second running class, on Thursday mornings is with an instructor who is much more like a Bob Harper and it’s much more cardio running based, with a little abs. I love both classes, and I really like both styles of teaching. I assumed I’d prefer the Bob-like class but actually, my preference was more towards the Jillian class. She may have been barking orders, but it motivated me and I just did what she said to do, without thinking that I couldn’t. Both classes are fantastic and I’m pushing myself far more than I would ever on my own. Sprints at 6, 9, 11, 13, and 15% inclines? Never, ever happened before. But I did it. I left both classes with a red face that lasted for hours, and I felt pretty damn accomplished.

I took a spin class before my gentle yoga class on Saturday and it was awesome. It’s been so long since I’ve taken a spin class with a motivating teacher and fantastic music. My instructor is 14 weeks pregnant with twins, this was her second class in a row that she was teaching (and partaking in) and she still pushed hard. It was a hilly and fast workout that went for 17 miles on that damn spin bike. I’m definitely going to try to get to spin class more often.

I really wanted my six days a week of workouts to be pretty solid workouts, not “walks”. However, between my shin splints, sore muscles, exhaustion, late period that finally arrived, and an opportunity to have dinner with my BFF who I hadn’t seen in too long, I nixed my Friday evening workout, and instead spent 30 minutes slow walking during lunch. It gave me a little anxiety at first, but then I realized how silly I was being. Walking is exercise. And for the record, quality time with my BFF was way better than a yoga class. I will admit though I should have (and fully could have) done a little more exercise on Sunday. My body felt awesome – no soreness and not tired anymore – but aside from about a 1 mile walk with friends (and massive cleaning out of my closet) I didn’t exercise. I would like to push a little harder this week – because I know I can.

I’m loving Yoga even more now because I’m no longer looking around the room. I used to get nervous because I couldn’t easily do or didn’t want to try certain poses. Lately in the yoga classes I have been attending (especially since they are more gentle) I just close my eyes and do my thing. For the first time last week I easily got into Eagle pose, held it, and gracefully unraveled. If they offered it, I swear I’d go to gentle yoga every evening.

I fully realize that small group classes – which are a small additional fee in addition to my gym membership – are the most motivating and consistent way for me to get my workouts in. I have no plans of stopping my once a week personal training, or my twice a week running classes and in fact…I just added one more to my weekly workouts. Friday morning kettlebells. I figured it would get me to the gym before work, I’d get a legit workout in before the weekend, and it’d leave my Friday evenings open instead of cancelling or worrying about the gym when Friday evening plans come up.

One thing I completely forgot about which will help me on my excuse days (it’s cold, rainy, I’m inside and can’t work out) is my collection…

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Welcome back Jillian.

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