That time I almost liked Hot Yoga

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make your life so much better.  like a mouse.

mouse

I have a lap top and I love it, but lately since I am doing more actual work on it and not just web browsing on the couch, this little gem has made my life so much better!

I also decided that today, giving another shot at hot yoga would make my life better.  I was freezing, it was gray and cold, i needed a good stretch, and this girl always makes me want to love it.   I have tried hot yoga twice in the past and I didn’t like it even a little both times.  This time I went to a new studio. The air flow was MUCH better and even though the room was 112 degrees, I didn’t feel like I was choking.  The class was 90 minutes.  I think about 30 minutes too long.  They offer a 60 minute class and I am going to try that next time…soon. I actually didn’t loathe it like I expected! That’s a good sign!

hotyoga

Although I have a strange head tilt for the “after” that’s not a face of “fml that was horrible now I will puke.”

Day 2 of my 24 day challenge and so far so good!  Lots of clean eats going on around here.  Dinner last night was simple chicken marinated in lemon juice with some pepper, roasted sweet potatoes anddddd ketchup.  I love that I can eat my normal foods without any crazy restrictions.  It’s all about balance!

clean eats 1

Have you found anything simple like a mouse that has made your life just thaaaat much better?

What about hot yoga? Love it, hate it?

gm

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Back to Back Marathons

Word vomit and picture-less. Lame. BUT.  I potentially have the secrets of how to run races so close together probably not but you should keep reading regardless.

When I was on the bus heading to the start at the California International Marathon,  I started to chat it up with the nice man sitting next to me.  We went from talking about the race weather and how often we run and that sort of thing….to talking about our last race.  When I mentioned that I had just completed a marathon exactly 8 weeks prior his response was “WOAH there, soon to be doing another one, no?  AND you are trying to qualify? ha”

How I interpreted it was basically “good luck sucker”

Now, when I finished Steamtown and missed my goal I immediately started weighing out my options.  I also stumbled across this article from Runners World.  I took it as a “How To” on running races so close together. I immediately freaked when I saw it say I should take a considerable amount of time off if I had a tough first race.  I emailed it to my coach, we talked about it quite a bit.  I threw around the idea of taking time off and waiting till the spring or following fall.  Ultimately I knew I wanted it now, not in 8 months.  So, CIM it was.

Flights weren’t crazy expensive. I had a bit of vacation time to use up.  My family was in the talks of going somewhere for a long weekend away.  Why not kill 2 birds with one stone and race the same weekend we vacationed.  Perfect.

My coach was 100% on board.  He reminded me, several times after several emails saying “are you suuuuure this is ok? are you suuuuure it’s not too soon?” …He reminded me that as long as I was very careful with my recovery I would be ok to race in 8 weeks.

First week post marathon:

+Tons of cross training.  and not just any cross training.  easy cross training. I sat on my bike and at a low resistance but high cadence I just moved my legs.
+I was attached to my foam roller and I was stretching non stop.
+It wasn’t until a full week after the race that I had my first run and it was a short, easy 30 minutes.

Second week:

+A couple of easier, shorter runs no longer than 30 minutes.
+I continued to spin at an easy level but this week I added a tempo run with a few short repeats ( no longer than 3 repeats of 5 minutes at tempo pace).
+2 weeks post marathon I ran my first longer stamina run.  1 hour at just about race pace.  I died.  Hardest run all training.  I wasn’t ready for it yet.  2 weeks later and I still wasn’t recovered completely

Weeks 3-6:

+I took a few light days after that craptastic hour run and continued to cross train.  Eventually my tempo runs got longer…and harder.
+Each week the intensity and duration got harder and longer.  These 4 weeks were the working weeks.  I made sure to run harder than I had when I was training for Steamtown.  Every hill sprint I pushed the pace at least 5 seconds faster. Every long run I made sure to go a little faster.
+I basically trained like I did for Steamtown…I just gave it that much more.   My last long run of the 4 weeks of work was 19 miles with another 3 mile run later that day.

Weeks 7 & 8:

Taper.  I was pretty much panicking because it was only two weeks.  I mean, looking back I should be happy because the idea of a 3 week taper makes me itch.  But I was worried that I wasn’t going to be ready.

Race day:

Mentally relaxed and ready to do this. I trusted my training.  I didn’t once question if I was ready.  I knew I was.

I ran a race I am proud of. I enjoyed the run so much it almost didn’t feel like I was pushing it as hard as I was.  Seriously.  Did you know I love to run?

Post Race:

WALK!!!  After Steamtown I sat and cried.  And sat. And laid down. Andddd.yea thats about it.  This time I made sure to walk immediately after I finished.  I refueled with some chocolate milk, yogurt, granola and water.

*** I think I wrote this post for myself.  As much as I hope someone gets some sort of benefit from reading my blog it is also nice to be  able to look back and see what worked for me and what didn’t.  It’s nice having a place to keep track of this stuff.  And HOPEFULLY you can learn from it too 😛 ***

So… Thanks to those of you who believed in me.  Who supported my crazy decision and helped my calm my shit when I would have a freakout episode   And….Despite all the haters and the people telling me I shouldn’t try and I would never qualify because the races were too close together or the weather was shitty or whatever the excuse was….

Booyaaaaa

gm

Ugly Pictures

I am convinced that I am the cutest and most photogenic person on earth. I am sure you will be too once you see the doozies I have for you…

Yesterdays run was tempo repeats.  Three 12 minute repeats averaging a 7:20-7:40 pace. Overall goal was to negative split.  Between the warm up, cool down and each repeat it was almost a 70 minute run.

cutest photogenic picture #1

pink headband with matching pink jacket. not planned I swear

by the end of the run, the color of my face matched the headband and jacket.

 That was definitely not an easy run but I didn’t want to die when it was over. I also made sure to negative spit – 7:34, 7:27, 7:15

I think next time I will try to not go as slow on the first one, too much steam left at the end.

This morning I was up at an ungodly hour to squeeze in some cardio and strength before work. Cute picture #2

I am so cute

I don’t workout with my glasses on but it takes me the entire 40 minute ride to the gym to wake up. I literally roll out of bed, put gym clothes on, let dogs out and leave.  I should probably note that I am lucky and have a gym at work so once I am done with my workout I just walk up 4 flights of stairs and then I am at work.

This morning was the elliptical for 30 minutes.  Thank goodness for my new favorite song and the new Runners World…those are the only two things that got me through this morning!

I also completed a workout from the Hotmess herself.

The only change was I added push ups instead of planks.  After I completed that I also did about 8 minutes of additional core work.  Sweat fest this morning for sure.  Thanks samHotmess for an ass kicking!

You are welcome for the beautiful pictures of my face.

Good luck to undecided2 and TeamRichmond this weekend!  There is so much running stuff going on this weekend I am already geeking out over it!

gm

Not rocking the runs

Good morning!!

Quiet Saturday around these parts.  Yesterday was a long but successful day!  But first…let me update you on that hill workout I did…

This was the workout…

10 minute warm up
2 x 30second @5K pace with 1:30 easy jog
8 x 3:30 @ 7:00-7:15 at 5% incline with 3:30 walk/jog at 1% incline
10 minute cool down

That pace alone, for 3:30 isn’t too bad. BUT…throw in a 5% incline and it’s basically a death wish.  I did it.  Every.Single.One.  I completed the 7 mile workout with each repeat at 7:08 pace and a 5% incline.  I left the workout feeling defeated. It was really hard. REALLY hard.  I even had a stranger at the gym ask if I was ok. Oh, sorry sir…was my gasping for air too loud?

I emailed my coach about it telling him I did the workout but it was hard and I was upset with how hard it was.  He told me he looked at my training and I did this EXACT workout 3 weeks before Steamtown except last time I did each repeat at 7:13 pace and now it was 7:08. I guess I should be happy with that, right?

Yesterday was a long but awesome day.  I ran around to the food store and home and then back to the food store one more time. I cooked and cleaned and didn’t take many pictures but trust me, it was a good day.  I made meatballs, lasagna and two 2-tiered cakes! Why two? Oh, because the first time I burnt the shit out of it.  Martha Stewart in training here.

Final product…it even tasted good too!

Regardless, I still think I did an OK job.  Even my brother, who is a tough critic, approved of the lasagna and that was my goal!

My whole family came to celebrate Sam and it was really nice to hang….even though they were an hour late and I might have been pissy about it 😉

That picture is very fitting since she is the owner of my favorite blog.  www.SamHotMess.com  GO AND READ IT!

Today I was really looking forward to my first rest day in 2 weeks…WRONG.  I had a 40 minute tempo run to do and then some core work. That’s why my coach is in charge..he knows what he is doing!

15 min warm up
20 min 7:20-7:40 pace
5 min cool down

I am ok with that.  Again, not a run where I felt like I rocked it…. I haven’t had really any of those lately. But I did it nonetheless. My pace was in the middle of the goal range and I usually like to have it at the faster end but I just didn’t have it in me today.  After I ran I did the plank workout from this girl. I definitely felt those muscles working! Try it!

Tomorrow is the longest run I have had in a while.  I really could use a “holy shit i love running and i am so good at it you should just start calling me Kara Goucher” run, so lets hope tomorrow is the day…

gm

Halloween, Brownies and WODs

I won’t lie, I don’t love Halloween.  Actually… I really dislike it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love candy and seeing little kids dressed up in monkey and lobster costumes.  I even enjoy the occasional doggy bumble bee.

But as I have gotten older I feel like Halloween is more about scary, zombie killers or who can wear the least amount of clothing.  Maybe I am boring and don’t know how to have fun but whatever. Wearing little to no clothing or being scared out of my mind just isn’t appealing to me!  In any case…

Happy Halloween 🙂

The past few days I have been glued to the tv watching all the news coverage on the hurricane. It’s so devastating. I don’t even know what to say about it….

I did make brownies though!

I even spent a ton of time with my babies dogs that think they are human children.

I have’t gone back to CrossFit yet because I am still focusing my efforts on running.  But, I am trying to work on my strength without completely paralyzing myself the next day.  That means a lot of body weight exercises coupled with running.

Yesterday I ran for an easy 30 minutes.  I really wanted to nap instead of run in the rain but once I got out there it wasn’t so bad.  Running in the rain always sounds like a horrible idea but once I get started I always end up enjoying it.

I also completed an at home WOD that made me realize just how out of shape I am.  Woof

I am embarrassed it took me as long as it did.  I am going to definitely focus more on incorporating these types of workouts into my schedule more often.  I am determined to knock a few minutes off the time for this one…

Hope everyone that is dealing with storm damage stays safe…. I have power so you are more than welcome to come stay with me for a few days 😉

gm

Race Recovery

After Sundays craptastic run I have been thinking a lot about the recovery portion of running a marathon. I mean, even Monday I was so exhausted.  I keep saying “I’m not sure what my deal is, what’s wrong with me” but I do know what’s wrong with me… I am not really understanding the recovery portion of running a marathon.

I think, ok, it’s been 2 weeks since I have done any kind of long or intense workout, I should be ready to go.  Well, mentally I am definitely ready to take on some serious killer workouts.  Physically is a different story.

After reading anything and everything I can on what do to after a marathon, these are the most common tips I have come across.

In the first hour:

  • Make sure to get some food in your system.  Carbs, protein, sugar….just get some calories in you
  • Lay with your feet up (preferably on a wall) for 10 minutes.  This helps get the blood moving which will help jump-start the recovery process
  • Move!  Make sure to walk around after you finish.  Stretch and move!

** Lucky for me I did none of that in my first hour.  I sat, cried and had no appetite. Go me.

Next 72 hours:

  • Move some more.  Go for long walks.  Swim.  Get the blood flowing to help promote recovery
  • Eat well.   Remember you aren’t planning and long runs anytime soon so no carbo-loading necessary
  • Sleep.  Your immune system has just been shot from the long, hard work you put into your race. Make sure to get enough sleep and rest to help prevent yourself from getting sick
  • Stretch/roll/massage/combination of them all!  Treat your muscles nice.  They just carried you 26.2 miles so be as kind to them as they were to you

** I was really good at the moving, rolling and sleeping part.   Eating well?  That’s another story..

Next few weeks:

  • Let cross-training be your friend.  Spin, swim, elliptical, walk…just make sure they are all done at an easy effort.
  • One general rule of thumb is one rest/easy day for each mile run.  I, personally, hate that rule.
  • A majority of what I have read says to give yourself at least 14 without an intense or long run.  That doesn’t mean no running, it just means take it easy.
  • For the average runner it can take 2-3 weeks to finally start feeling yourself, so give yourself that time.

I think I am below average because even at 2 weeks out I just do not feel myself.  I am going to definitely be more aware of how I feel (and start being better friends with my foam roller) and pray I get that running groove back soon!  I had a shitty run Sunday but I am trying to not let it get me down.  I need to remember the next few “hard” runs are going to feel tough and that’s ok.  That doesn’t mean I am out of shape or anything, it is just going to take time for me to get back into the swing of things.

I read this from Shalane Flanagan’s blog here:

” Athletes should never underestimate the power of recovery.
While my mind and competitive spirit are raring to go, my body is not quite there yet.”

So much goes into training for a race.  The day leading up to race day you train mentally, physically and emotionally.  For a marathon, that is typically 16-20 weeks.  It took a long time to build up to the point where you are able to run for 3+ hours so recovering from that won’t happen over night.  It won’t take as long as the building phase but it will definitely take time.

I think I wrote this post just so that I can get down on paper have written proof that the way I feel isn’t because I suck, it’s because I am still coming off a tough race.  Hopefully this helps at least one of you as much as it helped me!

And, for no reason at all, a photo of me face timing with J the dogs this weekend.

gm

Doctors, WODs and Cross Training

Monday things took an interesting turn…. I woke up feeling totally ok but I had this weird thing on my eye.  It was itchy and uncomfortable and a little red.  By the afternoon my eye was SO annoying and my throat kind of hurt.  I decided to go to a walk in clinic since all of my coworkers convinced me I would soon be dead from shingles.

Luckily I would survive.  I had an infection on my eyelid which supposedly can be treated with the ointment I got but what else?  Oh just strep throat and a sinus infection.  Like I said, Monday morning I was fine.  Monday evening?  near death.

I am getting pretty good at nursing myself back to health. Lots of chicken soup, vitamin C, fluids and rest.  Monday night I did just that…nursed myself back to health!

My bowl thinks I am amazing therefore it must be true

I swear by the rest part of getting better.  I may or may not have went to bed at 7 Monday night.  Shut up about it.

I woke up yesterday still wonkey eyed but feeling MUCH better!  Even today I still have the skank on my eye so I am not sure the deal. I think I might need to go back to the doc to see what it’s all about.

Besides being Nurse GM, yesterday I had my very first coaching experience!

loved it.  I didn’t take any pictures since it was my first time but trust me, I kicked everyone’s butt, in a good way!  The final workout looked like this:

12 minutes AMRAP

6 thrusters
8 burpees
10 pull ups
12 box jumps

I was definitely nervous going into it but once I got started it felt so natural!  I started with a warm up, light stretch and then…show time.  Everyone that participated did great and I got awesome feedback about my coaching skills!  Like I said, I loved it!

On the workout front….

I am really taking advantage of the whole “give yourself a full 2 weeks to recover after a marathon” idea.  I haven’t had any hard runs… and now I am itching to get out there.  BUT, I am being smart and sticking to little running with lots of cross training!  Today I did an easy 20 minute run followed by 40 minutes of the elliptical.

Notice something different about those pictures…

hint hint… I might be cheating on my beloved Asics….and I am not regretting it…

What’s your favorite way to cross train?

gm

Runners World Article

Not too much going on over here!  I am still making out with my foam roller every night and I haven’t run yet.  I KNOW!  Tomorrow I plan a super easy run and some more cross training.  Nice and easy this week.  I am recovering right, not jumping back into it too early so I can come back stronger and better than ever.

I have also been trying to enjoy walking.  Just regular old walking.  I get dressed like I am going to run, put some tunes on and walk.  The dogs come and I usually end up dragging Lola but they come regardless.  Jake loves it.  Lola hates me more and more every time.  This is obviously her preferred method of travel

I have been using the elliptical every day this week but today opted for the bike instead.  It is cold and windy here today so I biked in the garage…door closed and all.

That is one of my favorite issues of Runners World.  Seriously.  It has articles about what to wear in different temperatures, information for marathon recovery and when to race again…and then my favorite: An article written by Amby Burfoot, one of the magazines editors.

If you get the chance to read this article, do it.  Hell, ask to borrow my magazine so you can read it.

The article talks about A. Burfoots experience with running and streaking.  He talks about starting running and training physically as well as mentally.  The topics of injuries, weight and cross-training are discussed.  It is basically a short guideline for everything important in running.  Seriously. I love it.

Much to J’s delight, I have been sitting on the couch for the past half hour reading different quotes that I love….which is basically the entire article.

For example, on brain training…

“We obsess over pace, finish times, heart rate, lactate threshold and running economy, as if these determine who we are as runners.  They don’t.  They might contribute to your half marathon PR and even your health, but they don’t define you as a runner.  There is muscle fiber and then there are the 50 shades of gray matter between your ears.  The second is more important than the first.  If you want to success as a lifelong runner, you’ll gain more payback from brain-training than from any other workouts.  In other words, you need to create self-reinforcing motivational patters that build  a strong foundation under your fitness…

Running is easy: Put one foot in front of the other.  Staying motivated to run requires much more”

That’s just one piece of the article.  It’s seriously that good.

As for the rest of the weekend I plan on NOT setting an alarm, enjoying the fall weather and taking it easy.

Recovery week at its finest 🙂

gm

Eats and Sleep Question

Now that I am not training as hard as I have been, I need to be careful that I am not eating like I am running my face off.   My goal is to eat clean but still be able to enjoy myself.  read: a cupcake here and there won’t kill me

I am being proactive and I made hard-boiled eggs and a big salad to bring for lunch so I have no excuses.

I am also trying to eat more nutritious snacks.  Instead of 12423 pretzels, only 5 with some tomato and salt instead.

Yesterday I didn’t swim like I anticipated.  The pool just sounded so….wet.  And I was so dry.  So instead I went for a long, fast walk.  It helped loosen me up a lot.  I made sure to foam roll too.  It was soooo painful, especially on my calves, but I am glad I did it!

This morning I hopped on the elliptical for 25 minutes and my legs are feeling better. I can still feel the soreness but I am already walking better than yesterday 🙂

To continue my clean eating I made dinner at home.  We have been going out to eat way too much lately so I am hoping to cut back on that.  Dinner was quinoa, chicken, spinach and cheddar cheese.  Throw some garlic powder in and bake it for 15 minutes.  Boom delish.

I don’t have a photo of the final product but believe me, it’s good.

The only bad thing about eating in?  I manage to make every.single.dish dirty when I cook.

Question for you:  I have been sleeping pretty crappy.  I go to bed and I am tired but I toss and turn and it takes forever to fall asleep.  When I do fall asleep I can only stay asleep for a couple of hours then I am up and down all night.  last night I may have even woken myself from asking J a question in my sleep.  I am completely restless!  The thing is though….during the day I am not tired, I just don’t feel rested.

is this my mind just running on overdrive or is it from my training…or neither?

Has this ever happened to you?

gm

Ironman, cheering and Race facts

Happy Monday!  (do you like my fall colors?!)

This weekend was the first weekend where the only time I sweat was when I was working out.  The hot temps seem to be gone until we get that freak 80 degree day and Autumn is here!

After a day of food and booze on Saturday, yesterday was the opposite!  I woke up and headed to the Poconos nice and early to meet a friend for my last “Long” training run.

1 Hour stamina run.  I felt good! It was the kind of run that I needed to have the week before the race.  I am starting to FINALLY feel like…oh shit, I think I can actually maybe possibly qualify!  I think the awesome company helped!

After a feel-good run I headed over to the Pocono 70.3 Ironman to help cheer on athletes and hand out some coke and gu!

It was a 1/2 Ironman which consists of a 1 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride then 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles).  Seriously.  All at once.  What a freaking inspiration those athletes are!   I was happy to hang with the club my Coach runs and help out where I could.  The people at water stop 1 were also a ton of fun!

I also got to spend time with my newest favorite cheerleader.

It was the perfect morning.  I got to spend time with my favorite people and watch an endurance competition.  Like I said, PERFECT!

Since my Race is ALMOST HERE I am stalking any and every running resource to find any tips on how to better run the course.  I came across a Runners World article about 10 noteworthy marathons in the US.  Guess which marathon was on there!?  DING DING DING.  You are correct.  Steamtown!

From Runners World Magazine:

Do you want a small, quiet event?
Steamtown Marathon
SCRANTON PENNSYLVANIA October 9, 2011 (October 7, 2012)

Point-to-point, hilly, rural, shuttle buses, music

Let’s face it: Your first marathon can be stressful, and the mania of big-city races can sometimes contribute. Steamtown is the antithesis of the large, loud race. Here, relaxed yet efficient hospitality reigns. You’ll enjoy one of the best staging areas of any point-to-point race. Two rows of cheerleaders greet you when you exit the bus at Forest City Regional High School. A student hands you a bottle of water and directs you inside the warm auditorium where you’ll wait to start. The boom of a Civil War cannon sends runners onto a scenic route that winds through Small Town USA: Families line porches, wave American flags, and bands and cheerleaders try to outdo each other. Last year, the race sold out for the first time in 15 years, so log on April 1 to be one of the 2,500 who will run this year.steamtownmarathon.com

HEADS UP-> The course’s 955 feet of net elevation loss occurs in the first eight miles. Hold back to have enough steam for the rolling hills of the final miles.
VETERAN TIP-> Just after mile 24, look left for inspiration. Kids from St. Joseph’s Center, a home for mentally and physically challenged children, cheer runners on.

Getting close!!!  Less than a week away.  GAH!!!

gm