This is not about running. This is about realizations. There is a saying I tend to parrot from time to time, “if you want it bad enough you will make it happen.” I’ve said it many, many times to Kisa. I’ve said it to myself from time to time. It’s true. The drive to do something is hidden in the desire.
Case in point. The 1000km challenge. I finished it. I. Finished. It. 1001 kilometers to be precise. Despite a bad cough and a burning need to be anywhere else I found myself pounding out the last mile on New Year’s Eve. I’m happy I did it, but not happy about the way it ended. Each run was getting more and more difficult. Yes, I could run nine miles but I needed to start at a pace of 12 minute miles and I was never faster than 10.54 at the end. My quads would burn at the beginning of the run and not the end. I can’t imagine running St. Pat’s right now. But, I finished the challenge because I said I would.
Since I’m not running, here are the things I have taken up to occupy my time. These are my words to live by:
- Yoga. Not just the kind for runners
- Books. Science fiction (Hyperion)
- Movies. See every Academy award winning movie (best picture, documentary and animation). Blogs coming soon.
- Strong…as in…wait for it…weight training. A friend of mine is hitting it hard in the gym. I can’t bench press 150 like she can, but let’s see how strong this grace can be.
I have to earn back my body’s respect. No doubt about it. Injury doesn’t find me because I am a sucker for pain. It’s not like I like getting hurt. The stupidity of it all is that I am a slow learner. I’m in the movie Groundhog Day and wake up to the same injuries run after run and like Bill Murray I need to figure out how to change the outcome. It’s the only way to move forward.
Last night I took Nate Helming’s tutorial video to heart and did everything he asked of me: warmup exercises, one mile nose-only breathing, cadence check every 5 minutes and decent cool down. The end product was a 6.4 mile run that felt phenomenal.
Notes to self: five minutes of warm up running felt odd. I know New Guinea was confused when I jumped off only after half a mile and I could almost hear him ask That’s it? When I returned 15 minutes later I launched into the mile of nose-only breathing. I thought it would be more difficult and was pleasantly surprised to realize I actually know when to keep my mouth shut! What a revelation.
I do know better than to post a week’s worth of training. I learned my lesson the last time. One day at a time is my new motto and in the spirit of ODAAT, here is the schedule for tonight:
- 5 minutes of ascending squats and pushups.
- Core yoga with Rebecca
August miles: 6.41
Day IV of the Stronger Challenge. “Refuel.” Still a good workout only a little more low key. Low intensity cardio and strength moves. Right up my alley, especially when it’s a run day.
My observations so far: Nicky is a cool instructor/trainer. Has a lot of affirmations and go-get-’em rally cries. Stuff like, “Sweat is weakness leaving your body!” Luckily, he hasn’t stooped to “no pain, no gain”. Otherwise I would have to reach through my monitor and punch him. I like that he introduces his class beyond their names; tells us a little something about each person (like ex-military, mother of three, former Rockette…that kind of thing).
My trouble move of the workout turned out to be something called a Scorpion. I’ll see if I can describe this thing: basically, you lie on your stomach with your arms out to form a cross with your body. From here, bring your right foot to opposite hand. Can you picture it? In that position it is nearly impossible to tell how far away your foot is from your hand or how horribly wrong your form is (or isn’t). I hoped for the best but prayed I didn’t sprain something in the process. Because this was a 41 minute low-key workout I can safely give it an A-.
The run was good. At first I worried I would be overdoing it but after the first mile I was able to settle down, quiet the mind and just go. I got 4.23 miles in before New Guinea told me time was up. For the record, I am up to 21.8 miles for the 100 mile challenge…with two weeks to go in the first month. Think I can do it? Ha!
Much later in the evening I was able to get in a 15 minute recovery yoga routine. Very simple. My new love is a move with no name. Lie on your back, cross your legs tight, take a foot in each hand and gently pull them up and out until you feel a gentle stretch where you need it most, quads, glutes, calves…It’s a great one to just hang out in. Love it!
The meal part of this whole adventure has been terrible! I’m barely following the suggested menu. I feel like completely giving up for this week and starting fresh on Monday. Today, just to give you an example, I was supposed to have waffles for breakfast. Something about peanut butter and coffee, too. Instead, I had a Belvita breakfast bar and cottage cheese. Lunch is supposed to be this crazy elaborate tuna salad concoction. I’m sure if I planned ahead like a good girl I would be prepared for said salad. But, I’m not. Instead, I have a huge big of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, a slice of a leftover red bell pepper and a bottle of lemon juice. I think I maybe have a can of tuna in my office desk drawer. I’m really not sure. Dinner is supposed to be tacos. That I might be able to do. Stay tuned.
So. Yesterday was day III of the Stronger Challenge and I have to say my arms are SORE today. It’s all those crazy push ups. Have you seen Dragon push ups? They make me breathe fire, no doubt! But, I’ll get to the aches in a minute.
Day III’s workout was called “Soldier” and it was all the trainer’s favorite moves (think martial arts, superheroes and yes, dragons). Lots of really intense movement. I gave the workout a B+ because there some moves I couldn’t keep up with but I definitely gave it my all. I channeled Billy Blanks for the TaeBo moves, but I couldn’t get the superman punch right to save my life. I’ve never been a break dancer so that floor kick thing was just plain nutty.
As promised, after “Soldier” I did a 30 minute super simple and quick yoga routine with Rebecca Pacheco. Downward dog was interesting because for the first time my shoulders and triceps were killing me. I also noticed a new tremor in my quads that hadn’t been there before. I still need to work out the hips, big time. Truthfully, by the end I was just relieved it wasn’t a run day (note to self: that’s tomorrow, four miles).
Diet. I want to give myself an A for diet because even though I strayed from the prescribed menu (again), I stayed within calorie and nutrition guidelines with one small cheat (72% cacao chocolate- yummy). But, I’ll settle for a B+ again because I will be a very happy girl when I follow just one day of the diet to the letter. I have seven weeks to make that happen, right?
Achy! Did I mention the ache? I wanted to take a picture of this new-found remedy I’m using because it totally rocks, but I forgot. Not only does it work well but it smells great, too. No boys locker room stink! Next blog, I promise.
So, there it is. Day three in the can.
What do you get when you cross an eight-week challenge with a 36-week training schedule? One hell of a good workout! Last night was just shy of spectacular. I’ll get to why it wasn’t over the top in a minute, but first – the workout(s).
Day II of the Stronger Challenge was called “Iron” and was a little easier than “Fire” in that the cardio wasn’t as intense. Instead there were a lot of “pike” position exercises which I was fine with except to say I’m not sure I kept perfect form 100% of the time. My arms are definitely feeling it after the gazillion push ups and my knees definitely do not like squats…of any kind. But, I got through the 34 minute routine with a smile on my face. And it didn’t stop me from the second challenge of my new year. Remember the 36-week thing I alluded to? Well, I had a scheduled three mile run to bang out as well.
Confessional: New Guinea and I ran this one a little slower than our newfound love pace of 10.10, but three miles are in the books. No. More like 3.3 miles in 35 minutes. The only reason why I didn’t call this workout spectacular is because for the second day in a row, no yoga. Last week I did some kind of 30+ minute routine EVERY day and now I’m beginning to feel the absence. Bummer. Maybe tonight. Tonight’s Stronger routine is “Soldier” with no run. Time to visit Christine, Sage or Jessica!
Soggy. Soppy. Sappy. But by no means sorry. Before I am led to the abattoir for my recent rantings, let me assure you I am not milquetoast or talking clishmaclaver. Honestly, I speak the truth and there is strength in my resolve as well as my words.
To put it firmly. I had a falling out with someone I thought would always be by my side. I put a lot of faith into that relationship and when it failed I started to see other houses burning as well. The conflagration was strong enough to set my whole network on fire. And I let it burn. What does one do when she is under attack (real or imagined)? Fight or flight. Can I help it if me & moi chose both? Can I help it if I’m the one who blew on the flame? Even if I wasn’t the one to light the match. That’s my fight. I am fleeing from potential harm in the off chance my armor is not strong enough to withstand the heat. But, I’m not running away. Speaking of running…
I was supposed to run two miles last night and you know what? I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t need it either. I still have a nagging pain behind my knee and my toe has been talking. Excuses to some, but signs for me, myself and moi. Slow down. Instead I made German spatzle and practiced double pigeon (clam) poses. Why clams? You know. Since I hate them so much. Tomorrow night I will tackle two more miles. I’m hoping New Guinea and I can come to an agreement about closing our eyes for the entire two. I need to sit in the sweet spot of my run and turn a blind eye to the bull.
You know when you are prescribed medicine and you stop taking it as soon as you feel better? Okay, so maybe you don’t do that and that’s great, but me? I do that. That’s exactly what I do because I don’t even like downing Advil after 60 miles for Just ‘Cause*. Headache? I’d rather wait it out than take anything. It’s a bad habit to not let science take care of you once in a while and yet, I fall off the prescribed plan every time. Case in point:
Confessional: I have not been keeping up with physical therapy.
Confessional: I have not been keeping up with strength
Confessional: I have not been keeping up with yoga. Not even the after-run-quick-fix kind.
In a word, I suck. Okay, that’s two words, but you get the idea. Toronto* is 26 days away and the run itself is fine. That’s the problem. I walk away from ten miles without a single sore muscle so I know I’m good there. I’ve got so much “I Got This” I am making the assumption I’m Wonder Woman. But, aside from the run, it’s with everything else that I’m a loser. I’m the one who preached about motorcycle maintenance. You need to oil the machine, fine tune the engine, keep it fueled in order to achieve peak performance, right? I’m the one who went on and on about quiet payoffs and invisible rewards and all that. And then what? I’ve blown off my own maintenance plan for four weeks straight. Until last night. I went into panic mode. Immediately I scheduled a yoga date with Christine and we went at it for an hour. Standing poses, balancing poses, seated poses. Can I tell you how much I hate double pigeon? I was a good girl – I also tackled half an hour of physical therapy with an extra set of each exercise for good measure. Everything kicked my azz like an overdose. But. But! But, the good news is I felt the movement working. I’m not saying I’m “healed”; that I’m good to go. I didn’t know what ailed me, if anything at all. It’s just this: the hips started to open without popping, the quads remembered how to contract in order to lift the knees, the inner thighs stopped shaking. I’ll say it again, I’m not believing this was a quick fix, but it was a good reminder of just how important the “tune up” can be. Can someone tattoo* that on my forehead? Better yet, on my knees so every time I lace up to run I’m reminded of the prescription.
*more on those topics later…
Categories: Confessional, life, running
Tags: Confessional, half marathon, physical therapy, run, running, Toronto, train, training, yoga
I didn’t work on the Promises list all that much this last week. For starters it was that time of the month. Once a month I would rather curl up in a ball with a hot water bottle held against my stomach and a cold vodka bottle pressed to my lips. Cramps. Nausea. Bloating. Bleeding. All of it sucks.
The week wasn’t a complete wash. I did manage one elliptical and two runs totaling 6.13 miles. I’ve been concentrating on speed rather than distance if only to get myself out of the weeds. I convinced myself to lift four of the seven days and decided that military pushups are much easier than cobras. I can do 25 military and only 3 cobras! Yikes and yikes. Yoga was decent. For every day that I ran I was loyal to stretching out the hips and holding poses that would be kind to my legs – killer sessions of 20 minutes per side. I am shocked by the muscle definition in my calves and (this week) spent a lot of time double checking them to make sure I wasn’t mutating.
I started writing Just Cause thank you letters in earnest. A good, good friend donated last week completely out of the blue. With everything this woman has going on I was shocked by her generosity and humbled when she said “my mother is dying. just felt like honoring her.” Damn. It’s my favorite donation by far.It just goes to show people can surprise you. In good ways.
On the other hand, I let a few (in)significant dates roll by me: a birthday, an anniversary. I’m learning that an empty room doesn’t open the door so why knock? I don’t. That decision alone has freed me of guilt. Can’t wait to see what other things I let go of in the future. Maybe the Mother Math?
Lastly. I’m packed for Hawaii. It took some doing but I found something that could pass for “Aloha wear.” Something gauzy and colorful and totally not me. I compensated that frivolous purchase with something more my speed – Merrell’s Barefoot Pace Glove shoes. Black. Of course. As SPB would say, “Sah-weeet!” I’m looking forward to giving them a test spin. Stay tuned.
Categories: Charity, Confessional, Fund Raising, Just Cause, life, running
Tags: clothes, donation, exercise, fitness, friendship, Hawaii, Just Cause, running, shopping, strength, yoga
It’s hard to believe another week has gone by. Where is the time going? This was a good week for almost all of my commandments. There’s always that one that slips through the cracks!
- Yoga – I fell off the mat a little with this one. I did some kind of lame stretching after every single work out session (six days this week) but nothing in the way of a formal yoga routine. After my “long” run yesterday I found myself in my favorite pigeon pose for ten minutes. Just sort of spaced out lying there. I wish I could do that all the time.
- Run – 10.32 miles this week. Again, not near the 15 I originally wanted, but there is a consistency to the run and absolutely no pain anywhere. Those two things are major and need to be successful in order for this recovery to work.
- Elliptical – Just twice. I found myself watching one of those crazy “Housewives of…” shows and decided my life is nowhere near as nuts as those bitches.
- Strength training – not with a professional at all this week but managed six days of weight/body specific training. My abs hurt. My arms hurt. My legs hurt. My butt hurts. Everything hurts but in a really, really good way. I think the moving of the winter woodpile added to it. Thankfully, tonight is a night off while I work my second (consulting) job).
- Reading – finally set up a good reading routine and have to admit I am totally digging this love story set in 14th century Norway. Who knew? I’m also reading Waterlogged by Tim Noakes, MD. It’s about over-hydrating in endurance sports…
- Cooking – the new ingredient of the week is RED quinoa. Made a kickazz salad with quinoa, grilled chicken, cucumbers, leeks, red onion, lime, cilantro, cumin, carrot curls, hot sauce and feta (because I didn’t have a Mexican cheese on hand). I’m sure it would be just as yummy with an Italian spin or even a Greek favor profile. Kisa said, “Yup. You can make this one again.” Not bad for someone who traditionally poo-poos salads as the main meal.
- Letters to friends – only wrote one friend this week. It started out as a funny (and a little raunchy) card but I ran out of room so I had to keep writing on another card with a “read second” on the envelope. Then, because I thought of one more thing to say I added a postcard. Someone’s going to have a good mail day soon. LOL
- Red hot – did some Zappos shopping for new zippy heels and ended up finding some cool amphibian shoes for HI.
- Tattoo – rethinking product placement.
- Courage – scheduled the helicopter ride.
Categories: Confessional, life, running
Tags: cooking, courage, elliptical, fitness, food, friendship, letters, running, shopping, strength, tattoo, yoga