Post-Bairn Half Training – Week 2

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Alternate title for this post: “Well, that deescalated quickly.”

Sigh no more, readers, sigh no more
My training plan hopes were deceivers ever…

Okay, enough melodrama. TL;dr my plan got derailed pretty severely after my glorious first week. Is anyone surprised? Training plans and I are star-crossed, it seems. Let’s recap:

Monday
Rest | Rest

Like I said last week, I’m awesome at rest days. This one was perfectly timed too, since the Bairn woke up with a fever and we both stayed home and laid low.

Tuesday
3m run | 3m run

The Bairn was still home on Tuesday, and after being in the house with him for two days I was a little stir crazy. (We usually run errands or get out of the house somehow, but I didn’t want to drag a feverish wee one with a snot-fountain for a nose out where he could infect others.) Drew was working from home, and during a break in his meetings I booked it to the gym for a welcome break and a treadmill run.

Good things about this run:

  1. I remembered my ipod and had a bumpin’ soundtrack to get me going.
  2. The gym was practically empty. It was glorious.

Not so good things about this run:

  1. My right knee.

Oh boy. This knee has been the bane of my existence more than once on this blog, and I was not happy to feel familiar twinges. I should have stopped my run once I felt it, or walked the remaining distance to 3 miles, but I was stupidly stubborn (I completed Week 1, and I will complete Week 2, knees be damned!!). I finished the run, stretched, and headed home to rejoin my ailing Bairn, with my knee mostly feeling better. Ish.

Wednesday
2m run or CT | rest and ice

Wednesday the Bairn was feeling better and back at school, so I was back at work. A day of constantly moving from sitting to standing, going up and down stairs every few minutes, and lifting boxes and pushing carts didn’t help my knee any. I had originally planned to do some of my PT/gait retraining exercises to help bolster my knee but decided putting them up and popping some ice on them would probably be the best bet.

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Thursday
30 mins CT | rest

After the previous night’s icing, I thought my CT would either be a gentle bike ride at the gym or the PT exercises I had planned to do the night before. Then I woke up having inherited the Bairn’s snot-fountain of a nose. I didn’t feel right dropping the still-not-100% Bairn at the gym daycare, nor did I want to drip snot all over the gym equipment (nor did I really want to use the gym equipment with the way I was feeling) so the bike was right out.

As the day wore on, I felt worse and worse and really didn’t want to do any kind of physical activity beyond chasing the Bairn around the house. I decided to swap Friday’s rest day for Thursday’s CT and called it a night.

Friday
Rest | Rest

Then Friday happened. I well and truly had caught whatever the Bairn had at the beginning of the week, and Friday was my day to have a fever. My mom, bless her most wonderful soul, braved the germs and came over to help wrangle the Bairn while I sat on the couch, shivering under a blanket.

There’s really no point in finishing the week in this posting fashion, because as you’ve probably already guessed, I didn’t run at all at the weekend. Between dealing with the fever’s alternating chills and overheating sessions Friday night, and taking a mega-Sudafed as a last resort on Saturday night and being kept awake all night as a result, not to mention the Bairn’s coughing and night wakings, I didn’t get much sleep all weekend. Even if I had been feeling up to running, the lack of sleep probably would have kept me from getting the miles in.

So, sad trombone noises for Week 2.

—–

Now the question is, how do I handle this training plan going forward?

In all honesty, I was setting myself up for badness from the start. I really should have been running/training more before diving right into a plan that asked for 3 miles right off the bat. I knew this deep down. I had intentions of doing just that. As is wont to happen in my distracted #mombrain these days, I lost track of time and all of a sudden had just enough time to squeeze in a 12-week plan, with no room beforehand to build up properly. Knowing my body, that’s just asking for an injury.

Before whatever plague this was hit me, I figured I’d sacrifice one run per week to focus on PT exercises for my knees, and to make sure I do the cross-training that’s called for, rather than just 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there. I wanted to do it right… or as “right” as I could at this point.

And then the plague. If this tale of woe sounds vaguely familiar, an eerily similar situation happened a few years back – almost to the day! – when I was taking a Couch to 5-Miler class at work and was making strides (ha!) and feeling great about myself. In fact, looking back on that post, the intro I wrote rings quite a few bells:

“My first week of training was going so well, readers. So well. As I ran my prescribed miles on the treadmill, I was eagerly looking forward to writing a wrap-up post on this blog that showed just how well I had stuck to my training plan (lame, I know), and I couldn’t wait to show up at my second running class with my head held high, having actually completed the “homework” of sticking to the plan. … And then I got the flu.”

More sad trombones.

So what’s the best course of action now? Do I…

  1. Start the training plan over/repeat Week 2 when I’m feeling better?
  2. Jump back in at Week 3, but with some tweaks?
  3. Scrap the training plan and start a 5K training plan, then start this one once that’s done, and then just run the half as best I can? (Having run a half with minimal training I know it’s possible, it’s just not ideal)
  4. Scrap everything, give my race registration to a friend who’s on the wait-list, and just enjoy a weekend in Western Mass without running?
  5. Your suggestion here?
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Post-Bairn Half Training – Week 1

Hi! I’d like to introduce you to someone who’s very excited to be here: a version of me who actually completed a full week of a training plan! Was that your jaw I just heard hitting the floor? It’s okay, mine’s down there too.

I mentioned several posts ago that I had signed up for a spring half marathon so that I could have a goal to work toward. I knew I’d need to finagle some kind of legitimate training in beforehand, otherwise I knew I’d be a hot mess. Plus, the training – and thus getting back into some kind of shape – was really the motivation behind signing up.


…well, that and the chance to check another town off my Massachusetts running map… and the to have an excuse to travel somewhere new with the Bairn.

Anyway, I’m starting to ramble. All that to say – I dug out the ol’ Hal Higdon Novice half marathon training plan (which I attempted for my first half… you can read how swell that experiment went in this post), counted the weeks backward from race day, and set my jaw in a determined manner.

Last week was Week 1 of 12. And, reader, I nailed it. More or less. Here’s how the week looked:

Sunday (last day of Week 0)

1 mile run | 1 mile run

The first run in the plan was 3 miles. I hadn’t run much more than 1 mile post-Bairn, and that was in early December. I figured hoped a nice gentle mile would be a good way to ease me in to the plan.

When Sunday turned out to be in the upper 40s, I giddily set out for that gentle mile despite head congestion and a plugged duct (that made squeezing into my sports bra fun…). It wasn’t my best run by a long shot, and I didn’t feel great during or after, but I did feel accomplished at getting it done.

Monday

Rest | Rest

I’m very good at rest days 🙂 If Mondays hadn’t been rest days in the plan, I would have tweaked it a bit to make it so. Mondays are my late days at work, and are usually a bit hellish as it’s the Bairn’s first day back at daycare and his bedtime gets pushed late because I get home late and… just ugh. A good day for a rest day indeed.

Tuesday

3 mile run | 2 mile run

This is why I wrote “more or less” up there in the intro. While I completed the week of training, I did make a few small tweaks to take into account my general lack of fitness (see this post). Even after my gentle mile on Sunday, I mentally didn’t feel ready for 3, so I hit the gym for 2 miles of walk/running on the treadmill.

Wednesday

2 mile run or cross train | resistance band work

I figured I could use either some yoga/stretching or strength training during this half training, since my body is destroyed from hefting my growing bairn around all the time. Drew set me up with some resistance bands in our living room and showed me a few routines that would work my arms, chest, and back, and I went to it… in my most stylish cross training outfit ever:

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If you look closely, you’ll see some glow-in-the-dark space otter socks and slippers, plus the sweet goggles that came with the resistance bands.

Anyway, it was a gentle intro workout, as my body was already feeling it after minimal reps and I didn’t want to wreck myself. I’ll work at building it up as the weeks go on.

Thursday

30 mins cross training | Expresso Bike

Remember my good friend the Expresso Bike? I was so excited to hop back in the saddle. I brought the Bairn to the gym, got him registered for on-site childcare, and grabbed a bike. I probably should have started off with an easy lap around the virtual track, but I picked a 1-mile slightly hilly course to make it more interesting.

Yeah… after a half-mile my legs were dead. I hadn’t been on a bike since March 2016, before I got pregnant. And my mostly sedentary lifestyle post-Bairn meant my body was already reeling from 2 runs in a week and some cross training. Plus I was worried about how the Bairn, who is in the throes of some nice separation anxiety, was faring having been deposited in a strange new place. So I finished the course, hopped off the bike, and went down to childcare to pick up the Bairn (who was cheerfully bouncing away in an exersaucer). So it was only 5 mins of CT instead of 30, but it was something, right?

Friday

Rest | Rest

Neither the Bairn nor I felt 100% on Friday, so it was another well-timed rest day.

Saturday

3 mile run | 3 mile run

When Drew and the Bairn settled in to watch the Spurs match, I set off on a 3-miler around the neighborhood, route courtesy of MapMyRun’s Route Genius. It took me down some streets I’d never been down, which is always fun. My first mile was strong, and is now my current post-Bairn best mile time, but the next 2 got slower and slower. Still a decent run, but I need to work on not going out so fast. I think I’m just so pumped to be running again, it’s hard to hold back!

Sunday

4 mile run | 4 mile run

I was curious to see how I’d do with 2 runs in 2 days, and surprised myself by feeling pretty strong. I set off down to the pond, which was iced over and a bit grim-looking despite temps in the upper 40s:

Once again, I set out too fast for my first mile and then got slower as the run went on, but each mile managed to come in under 13:00 per mile, even with multiple walk breaks. I’ll take that!

——

So, Week 1 is complete! Huzzah! Here are some reflections from my first week of training:

Favorite sight while running: a preschool-aged kid dressed as Batman running around his driveway, [I imagine] fighting invisible baddies

Milestone of note: I already have a bruised toenail 😦 I suppose that’s what happens when I dive headlong into a training plan without even a small base settled. Ah well.

Lesson learned: Always have electronics charged and ready to go! Both my Garmin and my iPod were dead when I went to use them this week. The Garmin, meh… at least I have MapMyRun to play GPS for me, but man, treadmill miles are looooong without music.

How was your week?

Any awesome sightings, milestones, or lessons to share?

 

A Week of Little Victories

Sometimes when your running has been suboptimal – like when you’re trying really hard to run with proper form but are finding you can’t fun as far as you used to without taking lots of walk breaks – looking for the little victories makes it all feel a bit better. Like Fallon says, look for the shiny!

Well, I managed some shinies last week, which I’ve been trying to focus on instead of the things that make me feel frustrated (like the aforementioned lack of fitness):

1: Completed a set of GRG intervals!

The first time I tried Day 1 of these intervals (10x 1 minute running, 1 minute walking) I could only manage 5 of the 10 sets. On Tuesday, I churned out all 10 and felt pretty chuffed with myself!

I went down to the track to join the Shammies at their weekly speed workout, but knowing that I’d be doing my own thing in Lane 6 instead of going along with their intense, 5ish miles of speedy hell. I managed 5 sets before wanting to quit (including Set #4 which was ridiculously speedy and I’m not sure why), but I didn’t want to let myself quit. I wanted to finish all 10! So I took a water break and got back out there:

*The paces are nice, round numbers because they’re not based on exact-exact science. I basically hovered my cursor over the running bits and tried to figure out as close to an average pace as I could. I should have set Simon to record laps so I could have measured that way but, to be honest, I didn’t know how at the time. So this will have to do!

2: Attended my first run club track workout in what felt like forever AND beat my Blerch!

(See Shiny #1.) I really didn’t want to go out and run when I got home from work on Tuesday (cue the Blerch beckoning to me from the couch with a can of cider), but let Drew be the voice of reason; he kept saying “It’ll be good to see everyone, just go and you’ll feel so much better.” And he was right! I missed my peeps, and running alongside them is a great motivator. Take that, Blerch!

3: Ran 2 complete miles using proper form!

Remember the suboptimal thing I mentioned in the first paragraph? So, while my “proper form” running does make me go faster than my old, flingy-shins way of running, I don’t have the fitness level yet to keep that momentum going for long. Previous running style let me go 6+ miles without needing a walk break (if I went slow enough, that is), so the fact that I could just barely make a mile without needing a break was getting me down a bit.

On Thursday I set out for an easy 2-mile jaunt, without really any goals in mind – I just wanted to run. As usual, I started out a bit too quickly and was trying to slow myself down while holding the proper form. At maybe 4/10 of a mile in, I realized that I was running nicely, but holding an incredibly comfortable pace. I wondered if I could hold that pace for the full 2 miles and – not counting stopping at crosswalks and such – I could!

thurs2miler

Look at that (mostly) steady pace line! That run gave me such a mental boost… finally I found that I can run properly without having to speed away like a bat out of hell. That speediness would be nice to maintain to be sure, but it’s something that will come with time and training. AND, my slow-and-steady(ish) pace with the new form is more than a minute faster than my shin-flingy form, so that’s definitely a shiny!

(Not so shiny? My knees felt a bit dodgy after the run. I stretched when I got home, then popped some ice packs on just in case… while I chowed down on my PB + banana sandwich:)

(Shiny footnote: the knees seem to be behaving themselves now… fingers crossed it stays that way!)

4: Did a core/arms workout!

I’m terrible at cross-training consistently, so anytime I manage a non-running workout I’m pretty pleased. Drew and I were going to go to the gym on Friday after work, but forgot that they were closing early for the long weekend. Instead, I busted out some push-ups, planks, a quick bit of weight-lifting, and even some of the exercises GRG had given me re: my breathing and lazy glutes. (My glutes were a bit angry with me later in the day, but they got over it.)

5: Completed a long run!

I’ll do another silly “analyzing my run” post about this, but I banged out 4 miles on Sunday, bringing my weekly mileage up to a dizzying 8. After all my 10%-rule talk in my last post, apparently that is now out the window, as I jumped from 5 to 8 weekly miles in one go. C’est la vie d’une coureuse, oui?

What’s been shiny for you recently?

GetFit 2016: The Wrap-Up

Hello and happy Monday! This is a post that’s been in the works for a while, but – as you might have been able to tell from the sheer lack of posts on this blog recently – I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump, so it’s a few weeks late. But it’s here now and that’s what counts, right?

Right, where was I? Oh yes. GetFit. I wrote about it a few months back with a bright spark in my eyes, about how I was going to totally nail all my minutes goals this year because of my ingenious double-whammy GetFit/half-marathon-training-plan fandango. I also had the grand plan to wear Simon every day, since he doubles as a pedometer. Yes, readers, I had my eyes on the prize, and GetFit began with a bang.

Wee Tim, our mascot, ran the GetFit race with us to help us track our progress. He also shed clothing as the weather changed (source)

Wee Tim, our mascot, ran the GetFit race with us to help us track our progress. He also shed clothing as the weather changed (source)

For the first few weeks, my GetFit was on point. I rocked Simon (and my step counts… for the most part), I was meeting and beating my weekly minute goals, and I was blogging regularly about my progress:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Basically, I was all about GetFit in February. Even with a few rocky days thrown in (see the very beginning of Week 1), I was cruising. I even tried out some of the free classes offered through the program (Pilates and a core-strengthening class from hell). Plus, I was making good progress with my half marathon training plan. I was finally sticking with a plan! Go me!

And then… and then I hurt my “good” knee (see Week 3) and scaled back my training plan a bit, so as not to make it worse. And then, my knee stayed dodgy (see Week 4, aka the week of poo) and my dodgy ribs started acting up again. And that’s when the wheels fell off.

I went back to my gait retraining clinic and learned that I don’t breathe correctly, which likely was leading to said dodginess in my ribs. I began trying to relearn how to breathe, on top of trying to relearn how to run properly, and that totally threw my training plan out the window. My GRG gave me an intervals plan to ease back into running, but that got thrown by the wayside due to whirlwind trip planning and then said trip to the UK for work.

As happened in years past, GetFit sort of faded and dropped off my radar as the weeks ticked by. Maybe 12 weeks is just too long for me to stay pumped up? Maybe I’m on teams that aren’t the most guilt-inducing motivating (which is totally my fault, as a co-captain of said teams. What can I say? I’m really good at putting teams together, but then once they’re together it all goes a bit wonky)?

Whatever the reason(s), as in years past, this year I was just looking forward to GetFit ending so that I wouldn’t have to worry about entering my minutes on time lest I let my team down.

However, unlike years past, I actually met all the minute goals this time around!

getfit16Some were by the skin of my teeth, but some (hello, Week 10!) I managed to rock pretty sufficiently.

So, even though I fell off my training plan, and even though I stopped wearing Simon every day to track my steps, and even though I finished the program with much less enthusiasm than I started with, I’d still call GetFit 2016 at least a little bit of a success. It’s the little victories, right? 🙂

What little victories have you celebrated lately?

GetFit Week 3

Well… after the glory that was last week for me, we all knew the chances were slim to none that I’d have a repeat week of awesomeness, right? Week 3 wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t start out too great. I did manage to rally and rescue it by the end, but it certainly wasn’t where I was hoping last week’s momentum would take me.

GetFit goal: 180 minutes
Minutes exercised: 235

Steps

stepsweek3Monday was a day off, hence my pathetic showing (I really get around when I’m at work… it helps that I have a walk to and from the subway, and that my office is on a mezzanine only accessible by stairs!) The work week looks solid, but my weekend, again, not great. Well, Sunday looks decent, despite my not having met the steps goal Simon gave me. And I didn’t wear the thing on Saturday; I wasn’t *completely* sedentary!

Training Plan:

Monday (scheduled): cross-train
Monday (actual): cross-train

I had the day off from work, which has the tendency to mean that I don’t do a lot of physical activity. However, still riding the momentum from the previous week, I made my lazy butt do somethingstrengthening exercises for my knees, some planks, and a very sad attempt at push-ups. But hey, it was something!

Also, unrelated to my training plan or GetFit, I went to a CPR/AED class that was offered through the Shammies. The last time I took a CPR class (about 15(!) years ago, when I was a day camp counselor), mouth-to-mouth was still a thing, and it was awful because I could never get the dummy’s chest to rise sufficiently. Thank you, AHA, for making CPR hands-only! This class was much less awkward, and it feels good to have finally refreshed what I learned all those years ago.

Tuesday (scheduled): cross-train/speedwork
Tuesday (actual): rest

You know, I don’t really know why I opted for a random rest day on Tuesday. I know I had to work late, and I remember craving crab rangoon like nobody’s business on the ride home from work… apparently those two things together meant no cross-training for me? (There was no speed workout because the indoor track was closed for school vacation.) Looking back, I’m disappointed in myself.

However, I did manage to accomplish something on Tuesday… potentially injuring myself! Yay!

Not really sure what I did… I know I was intending to pick something up off the floor, and I took a step toward it and my left knee (my good leg!! the traitor!!) suddenly went all Snap-Crackle-Pop on me. It was a sound I’d never heard coming from either knee before, and then – whether it was my paranoid runner’s brain or real life, I’m not sure – it started to hurt a little, just under the kneecap. I iced it and went to bed with my fingers crossed.

Wednesday (scheduled): run 30-35 minutes
Wednesday (actual): rest

I brought an ice pack to work with me just in case, but my knee didn’t bother me much at all. To be safe, I opted for another rest day.

Thursday (scheduled): cross-train
Thursday (actual): cross-train

Another day of minimal-if-anything pain in my knee, and I felt ready to test it out gently. Drew and I hit the gym after work and I rode 6.5 flat(ish) miles on the Expresso Bike. I even managed to not get all competitive and go fast… just fast enough to make it feel like I was accomplishing some light cardio. The knee felt fine afterward. Maybe it was nothing after all?

Friday(scheduled): run 30-35 minutes (originally); run 25-30 minutes
Friday (actual): run 30 minutes

In an attempt to play it safe knee-wise, I reverted the rest of my training plan week back to Week 2 – basically shorter runs for Friday and Sunday. I have some wiggle room in the plan in terms of time – I’ll likely finish the plan way before my half marathon, so I’m improvising in places – so I figured repeating Week 2 wouldn’t hurt… especially since my 3-mile run in Real Week 2 was split by an emergency loo break at the gym, and I wanted to attempt running 3 miles without a break.

I intended to run my 25-30 minutes outside on Friday, thinking maybe a break from the treadmill would be good for my knee, but I got home later than planned and didn’t want to risk running in the dark when I still haven’t invested in an easy-to-carry-flashlight or headlamp. The last thing I needed was to step in a pothole and destroy another part of my body! So back to the gym treadmill it was. I felt good at 25 so carried on for 30, and felt fantastic afterward.

Saturday (scheduled): rest
Saturday (actual): rest

Ahh, legit rest day. How lovely. I visited my BFF and had a fab day full of laughter and tasty treats and her adorable wee one.

Upon returning home, however, Left Knee was not happy. Maybe it was the fact that I had it bent for the majority of the 2.5 hours I was in the car, and that my body was coiled tight because the drive was a little stressful? Who knows. I plopped an ice pack on that puppy and once again crossed my fingers.

My Saturday night. You know you're jealous.

My Saturday night. You know you’re jealous.

Sunday (scheduled): run 4 miles (originally); run 3 miles
Sunday (actual): run 3 miles

The SMSs were planning 8-10 miles, to which I said: “Oh helllll no.” I decided I’d still meet them at Shammies HQ, since that would be motivation to get me out of bed and actually out there to run, but then I’d go off on my own for 3 gentle miles. Luckily N was there, and she also wanted to do 3, so I had a buddy.

This was my first outdoor run in almost 3 weeks. While I tend to grumble about how hard the treadmill feels because of speed issues, I failed to factor in that I’ve been running at 0 incline each time. And real life has hills. When you’re used to 0 incline, even tiny hills feel hard. So that was a bit of a rude awakening.

The run ended up being a little slower than I wanted; N was recovering from sinus issues as well as an injury, so she wanted to take it slow, and I didn’t want to be a jerk and run off without her. However, once I got over myself and thought about it, I realized it was just what I needed. Knowing me, I would have set off at an unsustainable pace in order to keep up with the speedy Shammies before veering off on my own, and very likely may have tweaked one or both of my knees. Slow and steady today meant that I ran the full 3 miles without stopping, and I still felt strong at the end, and like I could keep going for at least another mile.

Plus, taking it easy meant I could snap some mid-run pictures of the lovely near-spring day we were having – 46* (felt like upper 30s with the wind) and sunny:

Look how little snow is left!!

Look how little snow is left!!

IMG_6095IMG_6096FullSizeRenderMy knees both gave me grief at various points on the run… mostly righty, the one I went to PT for last year. I’ve misplaced one of my patella straps, and had put the one I could find on lefty after she was throwing a temper tantrum yesterday, but righty seemed to want one too. My damn knees are so needy and uncooperative. Boo.

IMG_6103Cups of tea and cozy blankets make the double ice packs slightly less terrible.

——

So then. If all my wonky body parts behave this week, here’s what Week 4 will look like (hint: it’s what Week 3 was supposed to look like):

GetFit goal: 195 minutes

Mon: cross-train
Tue:
cross-train/speedwork
Wed:
run 30-35 minutes
Thu:
cross-train
Fri:
run 30-35 minutes
Sat:
rest
Sun:
run 4 miles

Have you ever taken a CPR class?

How’s the weather where you are? Were you able to get outside for a run this week?

GetFit Week 2

Guess what, readers? Week 2 of GetFit/Training Plan Extraordinaire was insanely successful. I nearly doubled the amount of GetFit minutes I needed (!?!), AND I actually followed my training plan to. the. letter. Seriously, who am I?!

Now that that silliness is out of the way, let’s take a look at how the week shook out, shall we?

GetFit goal: 165 minutes
Minutes exercised: 320 😮

Training plan:

Monday (scheduled): cross-train
Monday (actual): Pilates

One thing I love about the GetFit program is that there are so many classes and events on offer, most free and some for small fees. In the past I’ve taken running classes that met weekly, and they were fantastic. On Monday, I took a free 30-minute intro to Pilates class, which was taught by a woman who teaches Pilates here on campus throughout the year.

I knew little about Pilates before this class; I knew it was focused on the core and named after Joseph PIlates… that’s about it. In the class I learned a bit more about its background, as well as the dance-based interpretation this particular instructor teaches. Then we did some basic moves on yoga mats and, once again, I was a bit embarrassed when attention was called to the fact that my legs don’t stretch flat when they’re up in the air. I need to do something about this…

This? Yeah, I can't even get close. (Source)

This? Yeah, I can’t even get close. (Source)

Other than that, the class was decent – not too hard, but I definitely felt it in my core when I walked away. It was hard to get a lot out of a quick 30-minute class, but was a pretty good intro.

Tuesday (scheduled): cross-train/speedwork
Tuesday (actual): shoveling and lots of walking

Like last Friday, Monday brought another day of blizzard warnings and slippery commutes. It was still snowing well after I got home, and I really didn’t feel like shoveling in the dark, only to have to get up and shovel more in the morning, so I set my alarm for wicked early on Tuesday and did it all then. Who needs the gym when you have a driveway full of snow, eh?

It actually worked out well, because Drew and I got tickets to Tuesday night’s Bruins game (my first professional hockey game!), so I had to skip the night’s speed workout anyway.

These seats though.

These seats though.

After watching the Bruins get thrashed by the Kings 9-2 (ouch), we had to walk about 2 miles back to our car. That, on top of lots of walking back and forth across campus during the day for various meetings, meant I got quite a few steps in over the course of the day. So Tuesday wasn’t too useless, and I totally count shoveling as cross-training.

Wednesday (scheduled): run 25-30 minutes
Wednesday (actual): run 27 minutes

Another cold day with some snow and no sign of clear sidewalks, so it was back to the gym I went. I intended to run 25 minutes, but the ‘pod shuffled up a few songs that were perfect to run to (I’m looking at you, “Stockholm Syndrome“) and I just had to keep going. In fact, due to the music that came up, I may have increased the speed a little and turned it into an accidental progression run ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thursday (scheduled): cross-train
Thursday (actual): Stability and Core Clinic

The clinic was another free class offered through GetFit, and I was intrigued. Core stuff is wicked important for runners, right? And it’s something I tend to ignore. So I was all proud of myself, signing up for two core-focused classes for cross-training this week. Little did I know I’d soon be regretting that decision…

I showed up to the class on the early side, and was pleased to overhear the instructor tell another classmate that the class would not be intense. (Did I remember seeing “challenging” and “invigorating” in the class description? Of course not…) We were instructed to each grab a mat, a BOSU, a stability ball, and two dumbbells.

BOSU (source)

BOSU (source)

We did three different circuits using these things, and two sets of each circuit. Each circuit had 3-4 exercises in it, which we’d do for 45 seconds, then we’d have 15 seconds to rest/transition to the next exercise, and so on. It wasn’t too bad at first, when we were doing things like squats on the BOSU, but once we got into planks and push-ups and sit-ups…?! I can do, like, 5 push-ups and 0 sit-ups, let alone do them for 45 seconds at a time. I rode the struggle bus so hard during this class.

I don’t remember all the exercises, but there were squats, lunges, planks, push-ups, sit-ups, sit-up-twists, chest presses, bird-dogs, bridges, the bridges where you then put your heels on the stability ball and drag it toward your butt, a thing where you put your knees on the ball and dragged it toward your chest… yeah. I was pretty much driving the struggle bus.

The one cool thing, I guess, was that I was able to do my first sit-up during this class (the BOSU makes it a little easier to do it, because it gives you a bit of a bounce)… crunches I can do, but sit-ups? Oh hell no. So that was cool, but then I had to keep doing them for 45 seconds, then 45 more seconds of sit-ups with a twist at the end, and then all over again. Torture, I tell you.

And, it *still* hurts to laugh, cough, or sneeze, three days later. My core was NOT happy, and is still quite miffed at me. If I want to look for a silver lining, it’s that I now have proof that my core is wicked weak so I know it’s something I need to work on. Will I take another class with this instructor, though? That’s a big mug of nope. Not sure what “not intense” means to her, but me and my sore abs will be over here sipping on our piping hot nope, thanks.

Friday (scheduled): run 25-30 minutes
Friday (actual): run 30 minutes

Another trip to the gym for some quality treadmill time. I keyed up a playlist with some of the same songs that pumped me up on Wednesday (did you know “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel is a pretty awesome song to run to? I didn’t, but I do now!) and went to town. And, like Wednesday, the playlist I ended up with caused me to get pumped, up the speed, and do another accidental progression run. Not a bad thing, right?

Saturday (scheduled): rest
Saturday (actual): glorious rest!

Oh God, sweet rest. Being the day after the day after my core clinic, my body was hurting even more than it had been on Friday. My abs, my hamstrings, and my armpits (?) were all in agony, so I enjoyed reading on the couch for most of the day. I did manage a walk around the grocery store though, so I wasn’t a total lump.

Sunday (scheduled): run 3 miles
Sunday (actual): run 3 miles

So. It’s been cold on the east coast this weekend. I had originally been planning to run with the Sunday Morning Shammies (SMSs), and had even found someone else who wanted to do 3 miles. I was mentally preparing myself to bundle up like crazy, get my miles in as quickly as possible, and then head straight to Shammies HQ for breakfast. Then the weather reports kept warning of colder and colder temps due to nasty windchill, and more and more Shammies kept backing out. So I decided I’d hit the treadmill once again.

How my weather app greeted me this morning.

How my weather app greeted me this morning.

I don’t think it was the worst idea. Drew and I met the SMSs for breakfast at HQ anyway, and heard the tales of the few who were brave enough to face the outside. One Shammie said his face mask froze solid, so he had to pull it off to breathe, but then he could feel his face getting frostbit so he cut the run short. Yeah… I’m definitely glad I opted for the treadmill today!

It wasn’t my best run, by far, but it got done. First, two of the good treadmills were out of order and all the rest were taken, so I figured I’d warm up on an Expresso bike. Then, I got all competitive with myself and decided that racing my fastest ghost would be a good idea for a warm-up. (I realized it was, in fact, a bad idea when I stepped off the bike and my right leg gave out.) In an attempt to shake out my mess of a leg, I hopped one a bad treadmill to walk for a bit, which seemed to help a little.

When a good treadmill opened up I made a dash for it, hopped on, and started running. (Soundtrack = Night Ripper by Girl Talk.) About a tenth of a mile into the run, I knew I had to stop. For one thing, I had hydrated a bit too well and felt like I was going to pee myself. For another, my form was off thanks to my wonky right leg. Plus, the bro next to me was grunting and groaning so loud I could hear him through my music, and it was seriously harshing my zone. I pushed myself to finish a mile, then hopped off and ran for a pee.

Happily, a few other good treadmills had opened up while I was in the loo, so I picked the one farthest from Bro McGrunty, and ran 2 more miles. They felt pretty crap, and I spent way too much of them trying to maneuver my earphone cord so that I wouldn’t keep accidentally ripping it out of my ears. Once I got that settled, I was able to get into a few brief zones before something else distracted me, or hurt, or whatever. It was a struggle to finish, but I did, and I felt awesome afterwards.

Lovely recovery - stretching, The Stick, Nuun, and strawberry milk

Lovely recovery – stretching, The Stick, Nuun, and strawberry milk

Oh yeah… did I say something about tracking my steps during GetFit too? I totally forgot to post my steps last week, so here are both this week’s and last week’s (in too many images because I had technical difficulties during Week 1…)

steps1

Week 1, part 1 (just Monday)

Week 1, part 2 (which included a dead Garmin battery)

Week 1, part 2 (which included a dead Garmin battery)

Week 2. I need to work on moving my lazy butt on the weekends!

Week 2. I need to work on moving my lazy butt on the weekends!

——

Next week looks like:

GetFit goal: 180 minutes

Mon: cross-train
Tue:
cross-train/speedwork
Wed:
run 30-35 minutes
Thu:
cross-train
Fri:
run 30-35 minutes
Sat:
rest
Sun:
run 4 miles

——

Any tips for getting my legs to go straight – hamstring stretches, maybe?

What do you think – does shoveling count as cross-training?

Do you have a favorite song (or songs) for helping make treadmill running less painful?

GetFit Week 1

Happy Monday! Last week was my first week of GetFit, as well as my first week of my ease-into-it half marathon training plan. I got off to a bit of a rocky start (anyone surprised?) but the week ended up being a success. Here’s how it went:

GetFit goal: 150 minutes
Minutes exercised:  245 (woo hoo!)

Training plan:

Monday (scheduled): cross-train
Monday (actual): er, rest day 😦

Well, I was off to a great start, wasn’t I?! I had big plans for myself… mostly hopping back on the Expresso Bike for some virtual cycling miles. Then it was like 60 degrees out (on February 1!!) and Drew said he’d grill some yummy food, but that it would require our skipping the gym. I’m not one to turn down Drew’s grilling skillz, so I decided I’d do my PT knee routine and some core exercises instead. Then I felt super sick on the bus during my commute home… I think it was a combination of overheating (whyyyyy must we blast the heat on the bus when it’s 60*??), motion sickness, an oncoming migraine that I [thought I] managed to nip in the bud, and a general lack of food consumed during the day. Whatever the cause, I was not feeling up to sitting upright, let alone work out. So I sat on the couch and watched Friends all evening. Womp womp.

Tuesday (scheduled): cross-train
Tuesday (actual): speed workout

Yet another glorious return to Shammie time! Drew and I, in lieu of working out the day before, hit the indoor track together intending to do the speedwork with the club, but in a taking-it-easy sort of way. The workout was: run at 10K pace for 4 minutes, then 90-second jog, 10K pace for 3 minutes, 90-second jog, 2 minutes, jog, 1 minute, recovery/break, then 3 minutes at “slightly faster than 10K pace”, 60-second jog, 2 minutes, jog, 1 minute, done. Plus a few sets of strides.

It’s harder to hit the right paces at the indoor track because Simon doesn’t work in there, so I ran by feel. No idea how fast I was going or how far I went, but it was a good, hard workout… the kind that kind of sucks while you’re doing it, but still feels awesome at the same time, if that makes sense. By the end of the 4-3-2-1, my legs were nearly dead and it took some coaxing to get them to do the next set of 3-2-1, but they did, and I was chuffed.

yogaA new(ish) Shammie led us in a yoga routine after the strides; usually Coach Steve leads us in stretching, so this was something different and cool. My body couldn’t do a few of the moves – I just don’t move like that! – but the rest felt great. I walked out of that gym feeling awesome and accomplished – a great feeling!

Wednesday (scheduled): run 20-25 minutes
Wednesday (actual): 20 minutes easy

I added the “easy” because my legs were D.E.A.D. dead after the previous night’s speedwork. I really didn’t want to run when I got home from work – in addition to my legs protesting, it was dark and spitting rain – but I had a plan to stick to, darn it, and I had already missed a day, so I pushed myself out the door.

I plotted a rough route in my head that I thought would take about 20 minutes, but even with having to wait at a few intersections, I had only hit 15 minutes by the time I had circled back around to my house. Ugh. By that time it was raining pretty hard too, and I was so tempted to just call it at 15 minutes and go inside. But I didn’t! I kept going, improvising another little loop that unfortunately ended with a massive hill, but I ran up that thing like I meant it. As I approached my house again Simon said 20:30 and that seemed like as good a time as any to stop, especially since I had also hit an even 1.75 miles.

Though I don’t love running in the dark, it did give me a chance to try out my new running vest, which was a birthday+Christmas present from Drew:

IMG_20160203_181344321Isn’t that a thing of beauty?! Now I just need to get either a headlamp or a flashlight to carry so that I can see where I’m going…

Thursday (scheduled): cross-train
Thursday (actual): arms and core

I made use of the little 2-pound weights I have and did a semi-improvised arm routine… basically whatever moves I could remember from the arm workout I had looked up several months ago but couldn’t be arsed to find again. Then I did some planks (regular and side) and push-ups. Despite lifting boxes a lot at work, my arms are weak and the workout didn’t last too long. That’s okay – it’s a good starting point!

Friday (scheduled): run 20-25 minutes
Friday (actual): rest

I unexpectedly had to work late and was feeling a little emo, so when I got home I just wanted to have a drink and watch Friends. So I did.

Saturday (scheduled): rest
Saturday (actual): run 25 minutes, plus 35 minutes shoveling

We got about 7″ of snow on Friday, and while I was at work Drew was shoveling his car out so he could pick me up at the bus stop. Drew also has a sprained wrist from playing hockey, so I virtually scolded him and told him to leave the rest for me. So after watching soccer Saturday morning, I got some quality shoveling time in before heading to the gym to do the workout I skipped Friday. I ran 25 minutes with 5 minutes of walking on either side as warmup/cool down.

Sunday (scheduled): run 2 miles
Sunday (actual): virtual 5K race

I’ll write a race recap soon, but I hit the gym again for some time on the dreadmill. I was regretting signing up for a 5K that hit on a place in my training plan where I was supposed to be running less – I didn’t want to overdo it – but I had already paid and gotten my swag in the mail. I figured I’d just run a very gentle 5K, but once I was running I came up with what I thought was a pretty good plan: I’d run 2 miles, like my plan called for, then take a walk/water break before finishing the 5K. It seemed to work pretty well.

2-mile mark. Note the David Bowie documentary playing on the treadmill TV - it was a perfect distraction!

2-mile mark. Note the David Bowie documentary playing on the treadmill TV – it was a perfect distraction!

5K mark

5K mark

More on that treadmill adventure in my upcoming race recap…

——

Here’s what this week looks like:

GetFit goal: 165 minutes

Training plan:
Mon: cross-train
Tue: cross-train/speedwork
Wed: run 25-30 minutes
Thu: cross-train
Fri: run 25-30 minutes
Sat: rest
Sun: run 3 miles

How was your week?

You know what I mean when I say a run sucked but also felt awesome… right?

What’s your favorite arm and/or core workout?