Tag Archives: fitness

Summer Training Plans and Realities

I didn’t have any set training plan heading into summer. I knew I was going to lose access to my school gym, so I didn’t want to tie myself to a weights training plan that I couldn’t complete. And I didn’t know how well I’d handle the hot weather of summer (sweating is not exactly by best skill), or how much time I’d have to run with my summer job.

Luckily, not having a plan has worked out pretty well. I have kept my run mileage pretty steady over the past 5 weeks, and have even started to increase it a little bit. I generally pick a rough mileage for the week and keep track of what distances I’m running, but I don’t plan which days I’m doing which runs. I tend to focus more on monthly mileage, which I’ve gotten back up after it dropped in April and May during the end of grad school.

Summer Weekly Mileage

Summer Weekly Mileage

2012 Monthly Mileage

2012 Monthly Mileage

I also participated in the Runner’s World Run Streak from Memorial Day to the 4th of July, and managed to run (or walk) at least a mile every day during those days. But I’ve started to feel the effects of not strength training consistently, mostly in my knees and in my calves. The only strength program I’ve found that really seems to stabilize everything really well for me is The Female Body Breakthrough program, designed by Rachel Cosgrove. It focuses on heavy weights (for you), and low reps, and is pretty brutal. I haven’t made it all the way through the program yet, but her focus on hamstrings, glutes, and functional core training really seems to work for my running.

So my new summer plans are:

Start the Female Body Breakthrough program again, 3 weights workouts per week.

If I decide to run on weight days, stick to short sprints.

Increase run mileage gradually, hopefully peaking at 40-50 miles per week.

Start my 15 week training cycle for the Griffith Park Half Marathon on August 5th (I’ll post a training plan closer to the start date…it will include lots and lots of trail runs!)

Griffith Park Trail Run

Griffith Park Trail Run

It’s been really nice to not stress myself out about a specific summer training plan and just do what feels right in terms of temp and time.

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12athon: Month Seven

We’re more than halfway through the 12athon!

Today was the hardest 12athon I’ve run yet. There weren’t any particularly gnarly challenges, but this is what the forecast looked like when we headed out:

The temperature had gone down about 3 degrees by the time we started, and it was very very cloudy. Almost no direct sunlight, which was nice, but we’ve had humidity like this all day:

So the run was very slow. About 3 hours for the full 12 miles, which included running, walking, breaks in air-conditioned stores to buy water, and general whining stops.

I am claiming the Naturalist points (6) for my fabulous shoes.

And many thanks to my ever fabulous running partner and husband for his water carrying, food encouraging, and ability to talk while running up hills skills.

I thought about doing the RUI (Running Under the Influence) challenge, but didn’t want to risk it with the heat. So now I’m going to go enjoy this:

and some salmon, bacon, avocado tacos. Mmmmm.

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Wedding Anniversary – Year One

1 year ago today I married a man who is my friend, my workout buddy, and my partner in all things both nefarious and non. We met in high school, when he was a freshman and I was a sophomore, and dated for a year before going our separate ways. We got back together in December of 2007, and have been together ever since.

Our wedding was like us, non-religious, full of family and friends, and relatively unfussy. It was held in his parents’ backyard, with homemade mexican food, homemade bouquets, and a friend as a photographer. It was a perfect day, and the only party I can ever remember enjoying from start to finish (as an introvert, parties and I have a tenuous relationship).

For our first wedding anniversary, we decided that we would give each other a traditional gift (paper), which would by necessity reflect our tight financial situation. We also made each other homemade cards (made while sitting across from each other at the kitchen table and watching The Daily Show). We decided that a fun anniversary tradition would be to do something old (an activity we usually do), and something new (an activity we haven’t tried before).

Leo gave me a book I’ve been wanting for my collection, and the most hilarious card I’ve ever gotten. He also got a handmade card, and a guide to some of the best trail hikes and campsites in our area.

Bitterblue!

Card Front

Card Interior! I love it.

Then we went for a run (which we do all the time) to the new Crunch gym in Burbank! They let us participate in a group fitness class as part of a free trial. The gym was beautiful, and if I had the money for a membership, I’d be in there every day playing with the kettlebells and the nifty treadmills (you can go uphill, or downhill!).

At Crunch post-workout

We went to an “Ultimate Conditioning” group class, which used to be my mainstay back in college. I didn’t enjoy it as much this time, as I’ve gotten way too used to Crossfit style workouts, and this was way too high-rep, instructor speed. But We enjoyed working out together, and then ran home.

Bacon! And wine.

With a quick stop at Trader Joe’s first. Wine and bacon for dinner!

While not fancy or elaborate, it was the best first anniversary I could ask for, since I was celebrating it with my favorite person. Here’s to many more years!

First Dance at Sunset

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12athon: Month Six

Because we’re halfway through the 12athon, and because I wanted a challenge, I decided to tackle Macchu Picchu (Machu Picchu: 12 miles up a hill. Can be the same hill, but the distance you travel downhill to run back up doesn’t count. 24 POINTS), and the Slacker’s 12-Hour Race (Slacker’s 12-Hour Race (AKA The 12 MPH): Run 1 mile during every hourly increment for 12 consecutive hours. 24 POINTS. 4 more points if you end at 12 p.m. (noon).). And because I was doing it anyway, I claimed points for Sunrise  (Sunrise: See the sunrise during your run. Find your local sunrise time on SunriseSunset.com4 POINTS).

Because we live very near a straight 1-mile stretch up a hill, my husband (who is awesome) came up with a great plan. We staggered the runs so that we started one on a “40” increment, and then started the next one on the hour. This allowed for around 1:20 between running legs, and still made sure I was running each leg within the allotted hour period.

During the Night Legs (first 6 miles) my husband took our car to the top of the hill, rode his bike down, and then rode the bike back up with me. This arrangement meant that I ran 3 extra miles (down the hill between legs) but felt safer in the dark.

During the Day Legs, he’d drive the car to the top, meet me there and drive me to the bottom, drop me off, and then drive to the top again. He was great about stopping partway up the hill to see if I needed water or any assistance.

Mile One

 

Mile Two

Mile Three

Mile Four

Mile Five

Mile Six

Mile Seven

Mile Eight

Mile Nine

Mile Ten

Mile Eleven

Mile Twelve

I managed to pull out a great split on the last leg, and it was pretty amazing to be done. It’s not that the 12 miles are hard (although the uphill is pretty killer), but being awake and having to run so frequently is mentally draining. We came back after every set and watched Big Bang Theory or Iron Chef America while snacking, so I wasn’t tempted to fall asleep and give up.

Elevation Chart for the Route

I’m so glad I tried these two challenges, and I hope I’m not too sore tomorrow! Video from my support crew will come when we’re not too tired. 🙂

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Virtual 12athon: Month 4

So this was perhaps the hardest 12athon run I’ve had so far in this whole experience. It was entirely my fault, as I made several bad choices leading up to it.

Bad choice #1: On Tuesday, I decided to go for a hard 4 mile hilly run around UCLA, and then follow that run with a workout that included 50 pushups and 75 squats. When I haven’t done either of those exercises for at least 2 months. Ow.

Bad choice #2: Last night I decided to stay up until 2am working rewriting and formatting my portfolio, which is a requirement for graduation from my masters program. I also may have consumed things which included large amounts of caffeine, and small amounts of alcohol. Ow.

So, this morning, dehydrated, tired, and with screaming quads, I deferred running for awhile in favor of portfolio writing. And a tv show. And about 10 minutes where I laid on the bed and debated sleeping. I did not want to run. And I really didn’t want to run 12 whole miles.

But I got up and did it anyway. Not very happily, I might add.

My husband came along to be my bike crew, since his leg is still having some issues. I wore the Garmin, and now understand exactly how awesome all those little numbers can be. Having a countdown on my arm is utterly addicting. I also wore my usual running shoes, Vibram FiveFingers (KomodoSport).

I ran about 6 miles out-and-back on a bike path next to the freeway (I can run faster than the 5 freeway moves during rush hour…woo!) and then another 6 mile out and back from the house. I am working consciously to improve my fueling and test out foods during my longer runs now, so I had a banana at mile 4, a handful of Trader Joes pretzels at mile 6, and a hilarious pouch of what Starbucks calls baby food (really pureed fruit) at mile 8. It all worked well, although the Monster Rehab I cracked into with 2 miles to go won’t be making it into any race day plans. But by then I really needed the caffeine.

Thanks to the run and portfolio printing, I missed a work event, which was a bummer only slightly alleviated by the fact that I could earn points for it. My type-A personality revels in the virtual gold stars.

Final challenge list: Naturalist and Stung By Bees. Eyeing some big points for next month. Hmmm, 12 miles uphill can’t be too hard, right?

 

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Workout Week Wrap-Up: Week 5 (January 29-February 4)

Sunday (1/29): 6.2 mile run (Beach Party 10K)

Monday (1/30): 1.5 mile run with fitness challenges

20 burpees

20 star jumps

20 pushups

40 mountain climbers

50 high knees

20 tuck jumps

20 squats

Tuesday (1/31): 6.0 mile run on the treadmill in 1:05.00, 4.1 miles run at home in 55:00

Wednesday (2/1): Day off

Thursday (2/2): 1.5 hour dance class

Friday (2/3): Day off

Saturday (2/4): Day off

Weekly Mileage: 17.8

Year Mileage to Date: 100

This week, my singleminded goal was to reach 100 miles in the month of January. I had known I was getting close for awhile, but towards the end of the month was the first time it actually became a tangible goal. Tuesday was packed, but I managed to bang out 6 miles on the treadmill at school before coming home to finish out the month. I was really excited to hit the 100 mile milestone (ouch) and I can’t wait to see what my total mileage for 2012 is going to be.

Of course, after that I took several days off, but I needed a break from the insanity of January. I’m going to try to keep my nutrition going well, even though I’m running less. so that I can get back into it easily.

Oh, and no real race recap for the Beach Party 10K. It was a pretty small race, and not my best pace wise, so I wasn’t feeling the write-up.

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Race Recap: King of the Hill 2012 – Mount Woodson

We started the morning at 6:20, since we were staying in Escondido and didn’t have to drive all the way down from LA. The morning was cold, I hadn’t slept well, and I did NOT want to get out of bed. Or get dressed. Or run a race.

We grabbed our go cups of coffee and headed out. Try as I might, I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast. We drove through the fog/drizzle to Lake Poway and checked in at the race site. We listened to the briefing for the Bad Ass racers (they carried 30-50 pound packs and all their own water) before they set out, and then we had a half hour to wait before we took off.

I was miserable. I was positive that I was going to get lost, die, be unable to finish, or be the last one across the line (strangely enough, all of these fears felt exactly as awful…yay type A!) I tried to talk Leo into changing our “racing alone” strategy to stick with me, but he gently refused and reminded me that I had signed up because I wanted a challenge.

Which is true. I’m trying to fail at more things, rather than not trying anything at all. But I didn’t expect a challenge to feel so scary. Lesson learned.

I ate a Larabar (chocolate chip cookie dough btw, the only flavor I really like), before pulling on my gloves and getting out of the car. It had started to rain, and I briefly thought about putting on my thicker shirt, or my fleece but decided not to. (I would think about this decision ruefully a little later).

We heard our briefing, then took off. I really focused on not killing myself too early on in the race. Basically, we raced up a mountain, then back down, with a few fitness challenge stops along the way. The worst one was definitely the station that started with 10 tuck jumps and 10 pushups, then 9 tuck jumps and 9 pushups, and so on down to 1.

We all slowed down a little when we got to steep switchbacks partway up the mountain. It was raining pretty steadily, and I was already soaked. But it was strangely fun to just keep trudging along up a mountain. I couldn’t see very far in front of me, or any distance off the mountain, since we were essentially inside a cloud. Gradually, I was all alone on the mountain.

I had been really worried that it would be too steep for me to handle (since I do not do well on actual “climbing”), but it was all do-able. At the top (where I later found out it was sleeting), we had to do 100 mountain climbers before heading down the mountain again. After my mountain climbers, I decided that my goal was to run the entire way down the mountain without stopping.

It was quite an adventure, as it was raining harder now, and I had to perfect a glasses wiping manuever that involved taking my glasses off with the least muddy portion of my gloves, wiping them on the back of my shirt (least muddy part), and then putting them back on. I did this probably every 8 minutes or so down the mountain. My arms were really numb at the top, and I started smacking them to get the blood flowing a little.

Despite all this, I was having a FANTASTIC time. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face, and I felt like such a badass covered in mud and sprinting down a mountain in the rain. That feeling only intensified when I was ordered to drop and perform 10 burpees in a mud puddle, before running up the hill to the finish.

I came down with a brutal cold later that day that I’m still recovering from, but it was totally worth it. Best run of the year so far.

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