Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Giving Yoga a Try...

So, many people seem pretty excited about yoga. I had generally had the opinion of "I'm a runner, I suck at yoga." Admittedly not the best attitude, but given that I am not flexible at all and I can't touch my toes, it seemed a good enough excuse to not go. However, in the past few months, I have given the thought of yoga a second chance and even bought a living social deal to a local studio in order to really test it out. I actually went to a non-deal drop in class with a friend and despite sucking at it (that part of my assumption is still true) I do remember coming out feeling relaxed and stretched out and thinking I'd want to do it again. The instructor, also a runner, was very good about paying attention to me and my inability to do many poses, and helping me, while still paying a lot of attention to the rest of the class. I had a good experience there and was really excited to finally go to the Tuesday night class my friends have been raving about.

So, tonight, I went to the living social-deal local yoga studio. I think we went to Power Yoga or something. Power flow maybe? Anyway, I am pretty sure power was in the title, and it was designed to keep you moving. And it was 95 degrees. I, being new at yoga, was unprepared: I was wearing pants, my water bottle was only half full, and I didn't bring a long towel to cover my brand new slippery mat. But, I was there and ready to give it a shot. The instructor moved quickly from pose to pose and I could only pathetically try to mimic the people around me who were clearly more experienced than I was (not surprising haha). The instructor only commented on my slippery new mat, not really helping me get the poses right. As class continued, I think I figured out some warrior poses, and did a lot of downward dogs. We were constantly moving, which I guess is fun if you know what you are doing, but it sort of reminded me of a kick boxing class I went to in grad school where the coordination and memorization was just as important as the workout! About 45 minutes in, I was wondering, how long exactly IS this class... Eventually we got to the part where we were just relaxing and laying on the mat. That was much appreciated after a long work day and an hour + of dripping sweat.

This class did not leave me the "yoga is fun!" fuzzy feeling that the other one did. It kind of left me frustrated, disgustingly sweaty, and wondering if maybe the 'power' yoga isn't for me. I guess I was looking forward to getting relaxed and stretched out after my hill run this morning, but instead, I was tired out and felt like I sweat more before we even got started moving in the class than I did on the treadmill in the AM! People said that I would enjoy the faster paced classes because I really enjoy all of these cardio activities like running, swimming and biking, but I guess because I spend so many hours a week being super active, I kind of wanted something a little more relaxing. I think I will have to do research into the other classes this studio offers, and what type of class I really enjoyed when I tagged along with my other friend, so that maybe the remaining 4 classes I have left will leave me feeling more satisfied and revive my "yoga is fun" attitude!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A few more runs

Again I have slacked off at writing, but to be fair, I was out of town in Florida at a conference with limited internet access and limited time (and limited workout options!) the last week. I picked a hotel that had a workout room so that I could do more than just run, but unfortunately for me, the fitness center didn't open until 930 AM (!?!?!?). I guess the majority of Daytona Beach snowbirds are not business people and can workout at their leisure! So, I was resigned to only running, which is actually ok, and in the dark, which also turned out to be OK because the streets were well lit. So, I did put forth my best effort, and while I only got 2 runs in while I was there, I did get two runs in, which is more than I had expected my first night in the hotel.

Prior to leaving for the conference, we got a snow storm. My marathon training buddy and I decided (against what may have been our best senses) to go out for our 1:30 run anyway. The previous week I had done about 10 miles in that same hour and a half, but this week, as we battled snow covered side walks and icy patches, we barely clocked in at 7. Not only was it a pitiful showing, distance-wise, it was also a horrific experience frost-bite wise. I have proper gear for every part of my body except my hands, and my fingers were so cold that when I got back to my place, I couldn't even negotiate the keys. Thankfully, my boyfriend was there to let us in, shivering, and I eventually warmed up. I also went out to get smart wool gloves and mittens that afternoon. And, I will never go out in that weather without some sort of extra handwarmers as well! This epic run convinced us that we CAN run in "extreme" circumstances, though I am hoping that our late February Cape Cod half marathon doesn't get hit with a snow storm, because 7 miles was more than enough!

Yesterday, however, I had a 1:50 run, which went a LOT better than the past week. I was a little nervous, because I hadn't been diligently workout out while in Florida, and I hadn't run 1:50 minutes except for the half ironman in almost a year, and the half ironman had a good amount of walking. So, I set out, determined to just go slow and steady. The weather was certainly cooperating, because it was in the mid 30s and super sunny- I was actually almost too warm, which was a welcome contrast to the previous weekend! The run was really great- I was really enjoying myself! The only problem I came up with was the lack of a bathroom on my route. There was a Honey Farms (some sort of 7-11 type convenience store) that I had hoped to patronize for their bathroom, but that didn't quite go as planned...

me: do you have a bathroom?
young looking boy working there: no
me: really? how do you go to the bathroom? (yes, a little snarky but i had to pee!)
young looking boy working there: I can't let anyone use it
me: ughhhhh
young looking boy working there: sorry...

so, I continued onward, tempting fate, drinking less, and willing my bladder to stay strong until I finally got home. I even chicked a guy (he didn't seem pleased) as I am sure I was running faster in the last few miles as I knew the bathroom was getting closer and closer! I'm going to have to figure out a better plan next time. I really like my route, but I think that the 1:50 was pushing my limit as far as bathroom-less runs goes. That's the one problem with running on suburban neighborhood streets. My next long run will be done from my parents house, so I am thinking of just doing some sort of double loop and stopping there for a break. What do normal people do? What if you live in an area where there aren't local businesses willing to let you take a pitstop? How do normal people refill water on long runs? I am open to suggestions that don't make me go back to my house in the middle of each run, because I can imagine in a 3.5 hour run, stopping home to use the bathroom, I would have to have a lot of will power to go back out again...

I did a trainer ride this afternoon while simultaneously cooking lunch. I cut up some veggies and got them ready to roast, then hopped on the trainer for 45 min. Then I started the roasting, started some quinoa cooking, and hopped off my bike periodically. I think this is a handy way to get a workout in, while multitasking, and being rewarded with a nice warm home cooked meal!

14 weeks to go!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Marathon Training Begins!

Happy New Year! I rang in the new year with my boyfriend in Vegas. We explored the strip, did a little gambling, and ate a lot of good food!

The one thing I didn't do over New Years weekend was exercise. (unless you count the hours of walking). The day I got there, New Year's Eve, I had been up for almost 24 hours by the time the festivities ended and it was finally bed time. I didn't sleep well, and I hadn't eaten very regularly or well, and I had inhaled tons of second hand smoke (ew). I elected not to run, and instead to just relax and enjoy my vacation, and get serious about working out upon my return!

I got my weekly progression of long runs leading up to the marathon the other day. It is SCARY. Now, I know I've done a half ironman, but I never have run more than 2:15 min or 15 miles. I have no concept of how slow to even start/finish runs in the 3-4 hour regime! My longest run in the plan is 4:30, and 3 weeks before the big day. I realize that I have a lot of time between now and then, but it is totally freaking me out. 4 and a half hours of running!? How can I carry enough water? Where will I go to the bathroom? Do I have to do loops by my house to stock up on supplies, or can I do a really long crazy route like where we go biking? Will I even be able to make it? So much to think about!

I had a talk with my friend at lunch today about getting into the unknown times/distances. She is just finishing a couch potato to 5k plan, and thinking about what to do next- how far to run, how to get faster, and how she has learned to 'slow down' for the longer run times in order to successfully run the whole thing. I feel like I am going to be back in that boat as I tackle the complete unfamiliarity of longer than 2.5 hour runs. Thinking ahead to the 4.5 hours is scary, but I know that is just because it is a long way from now- I have several months of slowly increasing long runs before I have to deal with that. I just have to be patient...

I decided (yet again) that I will attempt to be better at blogging this marathon journey. I'm going to try to do some weekly (at least) recaps of the workouts I'm doing. I'm planning to do some triathlons this summer, so I'm still going to keep track of swimming and biking progress too. So here goes. 17 weeks to go!

My flight from Vegas got in very late Monday night, so I ended up working out Tuesday afternoon instead of morning. I used to be pretty dead set on morning workouts, but lately I have embraced sleeping in a bit and working out before dinner. I did a trainer ride to some Felicity episodes as my first workout of 2012.

I had a swim on both Weds and Fri mornings, so I headed to the pool on the most frigid morning of the year so far (7 degree low! we are approaching chicago temperatures!) and was thankful to get into the warm water! I had 600s to do - broken into 1x600, 2x300, 3x200 and 6x100. I really enjoy these workouts because the longest chunk is over the earliest, and before you know it you're halfway done and have only small little chunks to go.

At lunch that day I went on a short 20 min run with my marathon training buddy. I haven't ever really been a fan of lunchtime workouts, but I do recognize their usefulness, especially in the dead of winter where that's the only time for sunlight and "warmer" temperatures. It was in the 20s when we headed out, and I totally overdressed. I was happy to be sweating, though, instead of shivering. It was a great pick me up- and a great way to socially spend the lunch hour and get off site. I guess I will have to start incorporating these more often!

Thursday I had another trainer ride, but I managed to do this one in the morning, as I had dinner plans that night. More Felicity. I'm breezing through the show with all these winter trainer rides!

Friday I had another swim. This one had looked extremely intimidating to me- both in volume and speed. I had a series of 15 200s- small chunks getting faster and faster, and a few all out fast! I have done "fast" 50s or 100s before, but the idea of holding a "fast" pace for 4 laps totally freaked me out. However, I plowed through, and despite my fear, ended up with consistent times from my first fast 200 to my last! I felt like that was a success- completing a "scary" workout with consistency.

Saturday I had a 2.5 hour training ride. I was extremely intimidated by this, because that is a LONG time to be on a stationary bike. Looking back on this, I realized I should have tried to do this outside- we had an unseasonably warm day - it got into the 50s! But, alas, too little too late. (I also wore my parka to an 11 am meeting I had, and felt extremely ridiculous because it was so warm!). I ended up switching my TV show loyalty and watched some of my so called life. It's fun to watch all these shows that I never watched when I was the appropriate age... Anyway, I got through the workout, and felt pretty accomplished, and set forth to the rest of the day.

Today I had the first of my series of long runs building towards the marathon! 1:20 min. I set out on my usual path and had a great time and completed about 9 miles. I kept it at a comfortable pace, but I also was thinking ahead to how I am going to have to be really careful to keep it slow as the times increase and increase!

So that's that. The new year is off to a great start!