Recap: The Week in Training and Life

Countdown to the SLO Marathon

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SLO Marathon

The countdown to the SLO Marathon has begun! In less than four weeks I will be in San Luis Obispo at the start line of my 37th marathon. Will I be ready? Yes! Will I be able to rock the race as I’d planned? Um, maybe.

If you’ve followed my training recaps you know that life has interfered a lot in my training plan. While my long runs have been pretty much on target, my mid-week training has not been what it should. I’ve been getting in some of the planned speed work, but my efforts to get my total weekly mileage up where I’d like it have not been very successful. Last week I managed for the first time to get over 30 miles. This week, a long run cut-back week, I just barely managed 28 miles.

So to look at the big picture, and to stop whining about things I can’t change, I will have an okay race. Not great, but, barring any severe exercise induced asthma issues, I’ll be fine. And I still have two weeks before I start my taper, so I have hopes for these next two peak training weeks.

This week I got all my planned training runs done {high five!}. On Monday I was out the door at 5:15 in the morning. After a one mile warmup I did four half mile intervals on the road followed by two quarter mile repeats. I was running out of time, so I couldn’t get the three miles total in intervals that I wanted, but I’m happy with that.

morning run 2It was barely getting light when I finished my interval workout on Monday. Can you see the old man in the mountain in the picture below?

Morning run 3On Wednesday I ran a total of six miles, with three miles at half marathon pace. I ran with my neighbor Christina, and we got going at 5:15. I’m not crazy about running alone so early, so I was happy to have a running partner.

As I mentioned it was a cut-back week for my long run this week. I had 15 on the schedule with four miles at marathon pace in the middle of the run. Christina ran with me for most of it, and we did manage to run miles 5-9 at my goal marathon pace, which is about 10 minutes per mile. At that pace it’s not like I was sprinting, but I still found it challenging (which I have to admit concerns me at this late point in training). Anyway, I got it done. After I split off from Christina I had about four more mile to run, but I was really dragging, so I ended up finishing with 14 miles for the day.

ChristinaAlan’s hamstring is bothering him, so we didn’t do our normal dog run on Sunday. Instead I ran four slow recovery miles on my own, choosing perhaps the most challenging route, which is a big loop around our neighborhood that finishes all uphill for the second half. Oh well, I got it done, and took a few photo breaks so I survived.

Recovery 3Pretty, huh? You wouldn’t guess that the day was going to heat up to about 100 degrees (on March 29!!!!).

The Life Recap

I’m not really sure why I’m including a life recap this week since it was generally pretty boring. Alan was away for a few days visiting our twin grandsons in Huntington Beach and cheering them on at the Jogathon at their school. Cash managed 31 laps in 30 minutes! I think this put him in second place overall.

CashAlan also went to their baseball game where both boys had some great plays. They all also played baseball with grandpa, rode bikes together, and of course, went to the beach (it was in the mid-80s!).

DaneMeanwhile, I stayed home to work. I also have been having afternoon headaches this week, which sucks. Unusual for me, they come on in the early afternoon, send me to bed for a couple hours, then seem to go away by early evening. I think it is because I recently got back on my hormones (Obamacare finally kicked in!), and my body is adapting. I’ll have it checked if I’m still having problems next week, but the last couple days seems a little bit better.

I did drag myself out on Thursday to see Cinderella with Christina. More on that tomorrow, but I will say that I loved it. I was fighting the stupid headache through the whole movie though, so I may just have to see it again when I feel better.

Pizza!

The food was pretty boring while Alan was gone. Between having only myself to cook for and not feeling good I kept it simple. Leftovers for the win! Also my favorite comfort food when I don’t feel good: a baked potato with salt and (vegan) butter. Not sure why this makes me feel better, but it’s been my go-to since I was very young.

Alan got home on Saturday and I was feeling pretty good so I made a pesto pizza. It was really, really, really good.

Pizza 2And worth a second look.

PizzaI have a 22 mile run on the schedule for next Saturday. I’ve been fighting a lot of doubts throughout this training cycle, so I admit that I’m fearing this distance. I’ll have to get a really early start too because I don’t think the weather is going to cool off very much.

Coming up on the blog this week I’ll have a comparative review of Cinderella 1965 vs. 2015, a great giveaway for desert locals, and the return of the Pin It Party with Lindsay and many other bloggers.

And finally, here’s something to make you smile:


How was your training week? Any events, races, or other fun times? Want to join the Pin It Party (it’s on Thursday if you’d like to participate)?

So You Say You Hate Exercise

Time for a little tough love.

I didn’t become a personal trainer for the huge amount of money I could make. Not for the fame and glory that I could achieve. Nope, I became a personal trainer because I believe in fitness. How much better our lives are if we exercise.

Which is good because there hasn’t been a whole lot of money, fame, or glory involved. But I do know I’ve changed a few lives, so that’s a pretty good trade-off.

There is one thing I’ve grown pretty tired of hearing though, not just from (a few) of my clients, but from non-exercisers in general. The random people who come to the gym, friends of clients, even other bloggers (!). They will walk in, look disdainfully around at the equipment, the members sweating, the trainers demonstrating, and say, often haughtily (like this makes them special in some way), “I hate exercise.”

I used to consider this a challenge. I could take this person, create a program for them, find something that they do enjoy, and they would become lifelong exercisers. Barring that, I could at least make them like me enough to enjoy the time we spent together training.

The problem with the former goal is that it rarely happens. They stick to a program for a while, complain a lot, start to find excuses, then disappear from the face of the earth the gym forever. Or at least until next New Years.

The latter solution isn’t perfect either. There is a large segment of the population who won’t hire a personal trainer, so I’m missing a large part of the target audience. And while I do have a few clients who train with me because they enjoy my company, they would rather chat than work out, and they are terrible at adhering to the other parts of a fitness program normally done on one’s own, like cardio and proper nutrition.

I’m tired of sugarcoating exercise, of trying to make everyone happy, of spending my valuable time convincing you to enjoy doing something that will make you feel better, live longer, play stronger, and generally have a better life. So, to that end my new mantra is…

Buttercup

Suck it Up, Buttercup

Who ever said that everything that you do in life had to be fun? We, all of us, do many things daily that we don’t really enjoy. Do you like brushing your teeth? Cleaning the litter box? Scrubbing the toilet? Do you do it? Yes, because not to do it would leave you in a stinky place.

Even if you enjoy your job, you don’t always like it. But you do it because, you know, money. You clean your house, mow your lawn, help your kid with homework you may not understand yourself. Fun? Not really.

You do all of these things because, well, you have to, need to, are compelled to, whatever. For the most part, you don’t do them because you like them. You may even hate them.

If you spend a half hour three days a week lifting weights, or some other form of strength building exercise, and take a little time for a walk most days of the week, you can receive benefits way beyond having a clean litter box. You can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. You can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and osteoporosis. You can avoid the pain of many joint diseases, improve your balance and posture, and general overall health. You will feel better. You will look better.

look better

All of this for only two or three hours a week. Many people spend that much time a night watching television.

So suck it up, buttercup. Just get out there and do it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. You need it. It’s important. There are many resources available if you are new to exercise and need a little help getting started. You can contact me if you have question, either in the comments or from my contact page.

Who knows. You might even begin to like it. A little.

Love your health

 

To all my regular readers. You probably realize that I’m not speaking to you. I know that most of you either love to work out or have come to terms with its importance. But, you may have, as I do, friends, acquaintances, family, that sprinkle the “I hate exercise” line into your regular conversations. Now you have something to answer with.

Lucky Me! And SLO Marathon Training Update (one month out!)

Winner Winner, (vegan) Chicken Dinner

Have I mentioned how lucky I’ve been lately? Oh yeah, I may have mentioned it. Since December I’ve been entering and winning a lot of giveaways. And I’ve won some really cool things. Like my Blendtec Designer 725 (from Fitfluential). I also won a $100 Lululemon gift card from Fitfluential. I won a pair of Injinji socks and Croc shoes from Katie (in two separate giveaways!), a pretty headband from Sparkly Soul, and an Unplugged t-shirt from Jenn. Not to mention that I found $20 on the street a few weeks ago!

Well, the luck continues. Last week I received a package from NuNaturals that I one from Jody (the second time I won that from her! They’re keeping me stocked up.), and I received this from Influenster (not a giveaway, but I guess I won it from among the participants in a marketing program):

Influenster2

This was a complete and very fun surprise.

NuStevia

Five Weeks Until the SLO Marathon!

Yikes! That happened fast. The SLO Marathon is just a little over a month away! I feel like I’ll be ready, even though my training has not been quite as intense as I’d planned. My weekday training suffered because I frequently have to work at 7:00, so I’m just not getting the mid-week mileage that I’d hoped for. Especially now that Daylight Savings Time has started. I’m not comfortable running in the dark (here’s why), so I usually have to cut my runs short.

I have managed to get in my long runs according to schedule, so that’s good. And I usually manage at least one speed or hill workout during the week, even if it is a bit shorter than I’d like. That being said, I finally got my total mileage up over 30 miles for the first time this training cycle. Woohoo!

Running for the week:

Tuesday: 2.5 miles easy. I had to be at work early, but Alan ran with me so I could get out early.
Wednesday: 6.5 miles with two miles at tempo/LT pace (which was around 9:15 per mile). I ran with Christina, my neighbor, so we got out early enough that we could get our run in and I could be at work by 8:00.
Saturday: 20 miles. Yes, I got it done!
Sunday: 4 miles. Recovery run. It also put me over 30 for the week (33 to be exact).

So, for the long run, I started off running with Christina. Alan’s hamstring was bothering him, so he took the day off. We took off from a park about a mile from our house. Because we were getting a late start (again!), I took off forgetting my water bottle and didn’t remember until about a half mile into the run. I’d left it on the curb at the park, wasn’t sure if Alan would see it, so Christina and I turned around to retrieve it. Before we got there though, Alan pulled up, with my bottle, so we turned back around. I also stumbled and almost fell on a sidewalk crack, but fortunately I caught my balance before I went all the way down.

Christina planned to run 10, so I ran with her to her turnaround point, then ran back about two miles. I felt that this would cut down on how far out I would have to run by myself. We live in a wonderful area that has little traffic and horse trails, but the downside is that it can get a little desolate if you run out about 10 miles or so. This way I stayed closer to home, I passed my favorite fire station (and water stop) three times, and it just generally felt safer.

WRW6

All went well on the run, though 20 miles is a freaking long way. And hard! Speaking of hard, I was almost done, only about a tenth of a mile from finishing, when I stumbled over that same crack in the sidewalk! This time I went down, flat on my face. Still, my first emotion was embarrassment, so obviously I wasn’t too badly hurt. I did manage to bang up my knee, hand, and even hit my face, but fortunately that was a light hit. The fall (or my emotion about the fall) also brought up my exercise induced asthma, but a couple quick puffs on my inhaler suppressed that. And yes, I did run that last bit (.08 mile to be exact, anal about mileage as I am).

WRW8

On Sunday Alan was announcing the Running Wild for Hope 5k in Palm Springs. I had no intention of actually racing, but I do like to go along to see running friends that I haven’t seen for a while, even if it means waking up at 3:30 on a Sunday morning (I repeat, sometimes running is hard). I ran a slow, four mile recovery run while the race was going on, including a mile with my former LA Marathon bestie, while she warmed up for the race.

Race Pictures 001

Linda and I managed to finish the 2000 LA Marathon in 3:33 in spite of pouring rain and 40 degree temps. We wore our trash bags for the whole race!

WWRI took a quick nap (Alan gets to the race early!), then, after a mile with Linda, ran another three on my own. Slowly. My PRO Compression sleeves are my friends. I usually wear them for about two days after a tough run or race.

WRW3

WRW2You can see the wound (which sounds too dramatic, but “owie” doesn’t look right) on my knee (the bandage didn’t last long there). It felt okay though.

As I mentioned, there are only five weeks left until the SLO Marathon on April 26. That means three weeks of training really, then a two week taper. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can still save $10 with my code: WOODAMB.  It will be beautiful in San Luis Obispo, something I’m looking forward to since it’s already getting hot in the desert.

Skulpt Aim

As I mentioned last week, I’ve had an opportunity to try out the Skult Aim. I wasn’t very happy about my initial readings, so that has encouraged be to get back to a little weight training. I’ve been practicing yoga a couple times a week, Pilates maybe once, so I hope to add some traditional strength training twice a week or so. Gotta bring those numbers down!

skulpt 2Yes, I’m showing my best reading in the picture above. That is my quadriceps measurement. My biceps, triceps and abs need a little work. So I did get in two upper body strength workouts last week. It’s actually pretty easy, since I work in a gym, and there is always a little time to get in a quick workout. I’ll be tracking my results over the next few weeks and we’ll see how those reading change.

So, that’s my week. How is your training going? Any events, races, or competitions?

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program: Race Week

Run a 5k 8

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Race Week

Race week. It has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? Maybe you never thought that you would use the term, but here you are, a runner, in your last week of training before your race.

We’re not making a lot of changes to the schedule, but you will notice a little less intensity toward the end of the week. The goal is to feel refreshed and rested on race day. If you have been doing the optional speed work, it is still included this week, but with a little less volume. Remember to start each workout with an 8-10 minute walk, and to stretch when you’re done.

Day One: After your warm up, run for 25 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Two: Active Recovery. Warm up, then run for 20 minutes. Cool down, etc. Optional Speedwork: (Do this instead of the Active Recovery.) Warm up, then run for two minutes at your normal pace. For the next two minutes pick up the pace (think effort level of about 8-9 on a scale of 10). Slow down to your normal pace for two minutes. Repeat three more times (a total of four fast intervals). Cool down and stretch.

Run_a_5K_Program.JPGDay Three: Rest

Day Four: After your warm up, run for 20 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Five: After your warm up, run for 15 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Six: Rest. Eat normally and try to get some good sleep.

Day Seven: Race Day things to remember:

1. You can do this!
2. Depending on the time of your race, eat very lightly, nothing that you’re not used to. Drink a little water, so that you’ll be hydrated, but don’t overdo it.
3. Get to the race venue early enough so that you can park, pick up your race number, etc. without having to rush.
4. Pin your race number to the front of your shirt.
5. Double tie your shoelaces.
6. Warm up a little by a brisk walk or a slow jog for about 5 minutes.
7. Race etiquette is to line up according to your race pace or expected finishing time.
8. Take a breath, you’ll be fine.
9. When the race starts, consciously make yourself slow down. Everybody starts too fast at first.
10. Enjoy yourself.
11. Take a few sips of water at each water station. Thank the volunteers, they appreciate it.
12. Congratulate yourself at the finish line. You did it!
13. In all the excitement, don’t forget to take a little time to cool down and stretch. Enjoy some of the post race refreshments.
14. After a day of recovery, plan your next race. Next time, you might want to follow the “Getting Faster” program that is on the bottom of each Fit 2012 post starting with week two!

If you have any pictures or a race recap you’d like to share, send them to me! I’d love to post them on the blog. Check the Contact page for all the contacting options.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPGWell, it’s race week! The plan for the week is to gradually taper down through the week, so that by race day you feel fit and refreshed and ready to go. If you’ve been following the plan you are certainly ready to go out a set a personal record (PR) for yourself.

The Workouts:

The Long Run: This week, in order to be rested for your race, cut your long run back by about 30%. If you were running eight, this week run five to six. If six was your long run, cut back to four. Make sure to leave at least two days between your long run and your race.

The Interval Workout: For your interval workout, head to the track. This will be a brief workout, to help you feel your pace and build your confidence. After your warm up, run 800m at your goal race pace. Walk or jog for 400m, then repeat. Cool down and stretch. This workout should be done at the beginning of the week.

Getting_Faster.JPGThe Lactate Threshold Workout: No threshold run this week.

The other running days should be light, easy workouts. The day before your race you can take a complete rest day, or take a short, easy jog of about a mile.

Race Day

You’ve done this before, but you can still take a glance at the tips for the new racers, just to remind yourself. The number one thing is “don’t go out too fast.” With your training, you know how your race pace should feel, but sometimes in the excitement of the moment you will forget and just go out running as fast as you can.

Instead, try this: The first mile, run a little slower that your goal race pace (maybe 10-15 seconds a mile slower). When you hit the first mile marker, pick it up to your race pace. At mile two you can pick it up again, just a little faster than race pace. Then, when you hit mile three (if they have it marked) or when you are close to the finish line, give it your all! Sprint that .1 mile and stride across that finish line with a smile on your face.

Congratulations! Follow the tips above for recovery. You’re not just a runner now, you’re a racer.

Again, I would love to post any pictures or race recaps that you’d like to share. Contact info is here.

Sometimes Running is Hard

Sometimes, running is hard.

That may sound like blasphemy coming from me. Yes, I’m the gung-ho coach who has run 36 marathons. The one who tells my team to get out there and run faster. The woman who will argue the case for running against any opponent. The writer who wrote this post about why I run. But I have to say,

Sometimes running is hard.

It is hard to get up at 3:30 in the morning on a Saturday because you have a long run on the schedule and things to do in the afternoon. But you do it.

Running is hard

It is hard to run 20 (or more) miles by yourself, with nothing but your thoughts (and maybe an audiobook) to keep you company. But you do it.

It is hard to run in single digit cold or triple digit heat. Or the rain, sleet, or snow. But you do it. Okay, well sometimes you run on the treadmill or early in the morning to beat that heat, but the heart says, “I can do it.”

Running is hard 3

It is hard to overcome those aches and pains and get out there and run.

It is even harder to pull in the reins because you realize those aches and pains need a rest. But you do it.

Running is hard 2

You do it because running makes you happy. You do it because running makes you strong. And honestly, you may do it because running allows you to have an extra slice of pizza or two on occasion.

Running makes you a better, smarter, better looking person .(Okay, I just threw that one in to see if you’re paying attention.) It clears your mind, calms your thoughts.

You do it because not doing it is unimaginable.

You do it because you are a runner. And running, even when it is hard, especially when it is hard, is what makes it all worthwhile.

Running is hard 5Do you embrace the hard part of running?  What is your hard?

March Health Dares from UnitedHealthCare

This post is sponsored by United Health Care.

March Dares 2I am excited to be joining UnitedHealthcare this month and sharing their We Dare You To program. Every month UnitedHealthcare has a series of three health-related dares that are easy and have some great prizes.

The March Health Dares are:

  • Share a photo of your healthy breakfast.
  • Test your nutrition smarts.
  • Watch the “How to Read Food Labels” video and share your opinion

March Dares

Now for the prizes! The Grand Prize for each dare is a $400 gift card! Plus you have a chance to win one of the weekly prizes of a $25 gift card for each dare that you take. What are you waiting for? Easy entry, great prizes, and the opportunity to learn a little about living a healthy lifestyle.

I hope you will take the time to watch the “How to Read Food Labels” video. In just three minutes, nutrition expert Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, tells you what to look for quickly so that you know that you are purchasing the best product. While reading a food label isn’t difficult, she pinpoints the most important details to look for when you’re shopping.

My Healthy Breakfast

Since I eat the same breakfast almost every morning I rarely take pictures of it. A little granola, vegan yogurt, and some fresh fruit, plus some toast, and I’m good for a few hours.

Silk Yogurt Parfait

UnitedHealthcare dares you to take a small step toward a healthier life. Go enter, then come back and tell me about your healthy breakfast.