Monthly Archives: October 2008

10/21/08 Pso What?

Friday. Last entry before the marathon because without training there is not much to say. I put on a pound this week due to no exercise and not cutting back appropriately. I figure I’ll burn some of it off on Sunday.

I don’t really know what is wrong with me. I am not nervous at all about Sunday. That is not a good sign. I think I should be a little nervous. It just seems like another race to me. On one hand easier because I don’t have to haul my wetsuit, bike and bags of crap along with me. On the other hand harder because it will be just running for close to 6 hours. Just put my running shoes on and go. I think I should be more nervous. Maybe I’ll get nervous about not being nervous….

I didn’t do Yoga or Fight Club this week. I had something bothering my in my right hamstring and felt it best to not punish it. I assumed it was left over from when I sprained my butt in yoga class and was just working its way down my leg. I was soaking in Epsom salts and using the massager on it but there was definitely something pulled. I did a 50 minute run on Wednesday and then went off to visit Mark my acupuncturist for final poke through.

Apparently when I had been joking about spraining my butt I wasn’t too far from the truth. Mark found I had strained my piraformis. In addition I had tighteness in my psoas. Yeesh, I thought it was just a pulled hamstring, apparently I was a little more messed up. I think it is very interesting how your body seems to break down once you start resting. While I was running a lot every week week I had few problems, stop running and everything comes crashing down. It’s almost like your body knows that this a convenient time to feel niggling injuries so it lets them through.

Picked up my race number, chip and goodie bag (not very many goodies) from the expo yesterday. No big surprises. Lots of merchandise and goop. What an industry all of these sports make up. Clothes, shoes, bags, even stuffed bears dressed up in NYC Marathon sweaters. Something for everyone. I did buy a marathon backpack because my small black backpack I had been using for ten years has finally busted a zipper and I needed a new one.

I have one 30 minute run left to do today and that’s it. I’ve been sleeping 8 hours every night this week. UNHEARD of!! I have not slept this much in my life. I don’t know if it is the epsom salt baths or the less activity during the day rendering my system less agitated at night — whatever it is I’m now afraid I might oversleep on marathon morning and I’m setting up alarm clocks everywhere. Wouldn’t that be a hoot if I am just so calm about the whole marathon that I sleep right through it?

I’ve done all I can do. Now it’s just time to lace up my snazzy new sneakers and hit the road.

Namaste

In Asics flyer from marathon, hope it’s readable, I think it is kind of cute.  My favorite is number 25 —

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10/29/08 Runner Number 51581

Wednesday. Cheer!! If not from your computer come out and cheer for about 38,000 runners on Sunday. Click Here to read today’s New York Times Article on the increase in marathon participants

Here are my time estimates.  I start in the third wave which goes off at 10:20.  I am predicting an average of 13:33 minute miles but I am hoping for 13’s.  So give or take up to 10 minutes by the last mile.  If all goes well I will beat these times, if things don’t go so well I won’t even make these times.  These times are based on my performance at Staten Island so I think they are fair and accurate.  (I am NOT sandbagging these time estimates.)

Some other good info for following along in the festivities:

Click here to view the Spectator Guide

Click here to register here to get splits emailed to you.

Click here to enter the free raffle and possibly win stuff.

How to spot me in the crowd of 35,8000 people. I’ll be wearing something similar to this outfit so I should be easy to spot.  Pink hat, I’ll wear my pink glasses, pink shoes, red shirt and black pants.  I’ll also be carrying a pink water bottle and may be wearing pink long sleeves under the red shirt if it is very cold. Just look for someone tall wearing red.

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10/27/08 Old Salty

Tuesday. Have fallen into the lap of taper luxury. Not that I haven’t been working out but having a weekend with one 1.5 hour run and one 1 hour run seems almost like no workout. I know that’s not the case but I’m enjoying it anyway.

Thursday I had another acupuncture appointment. I’m no scientist, but it does seem to me as soon as some cold weather hits, my joints get achy.  It’s arthritis. That’s not just a guess, that’s an actual diagnosis from an orthopeodist who told me after am MRI in 2005 that my knees were severely arthritic and to stop running. So much for him. I believe my arthritis has been helped by more movement not less. My knees have felt better and better every year and until this last month I haven’t felt the arthritis since last winter. Yes, I have had other knee problems — kneecap slipping and scraping, but I believe those pains are minimized through strength training and proper form. When I let form slip (particularly heel striking in front of my hips instead of forefoot striking under my hips) that is usually when I start to have problems.

I had a 1 hour run on Thursday with some pick ups in there. Yeesh, I do not love pickups but I’m really starting to get the benefit of having to do a pickup AFTER doing a good pace for a few minutes.  The benefit is really psychological — as much as you think you don’t have one more atom to give, you really do.  Normally after I pickup to a good pace for awhile I feel justified in backing down for a bit. But right now I’m changing that to keep up a good pace and then dig into a really hard interval before backing down. It’s amazing to me that I can actually tell my body to work harder when I want to back off. Hmmm, a new frontier to conquer. You are stronger than you think.

Friday I had only power yoga — no run. I think I sprained my butt during my very first power yoga class a couple of weeks ago. There is something that hurts deep in the back of the joint where my femur meets my hip socket and I think it is is where the quad muscle attaches. Ugh, everything hurt on Friday but I did it. I never feel as old as I do when my joints are creaking in a yoga class. I see how my range of movement is not what it used to be but I also see that it gets a little better every time. I even did a little better on the lowering down to plank and then upward dog. A little better, nothing to write home about. I still leave the class to use my Max massager on my hamstrings.

I don’t know what to call it, a pulled muscle, a strained muscle? When I stretch I feel it. I don’t really feel it otherwise. I used the massager, I’ve stretched with therabands and my pilates machine. I pulled something deep in the depths. Finally, I went back to old school remedy. I soaked in a warm tub with Epsom salts.  I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. Not only did I sleep for 8 hours straight which is unheard of for me (I am awake from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. every night tossing and turning), I woke up on Saturday morning feeling great, ready to rumble. Goes to show you that old remedies are old remedies for a reason, they often work!

On Saturday I had a 1.5 hour run on rolling hills going good pace. I didn’t do too badly. That Epsom salt soak really helped. I wasn’t killing myself but I wasn’t hurting going around the full loop of the park followed by the remaining 3/4 of the lower loop. Walked to and from the park and felt fine. Felt so good that I decided another soak in Epson salts was in order.

Epsom salts bring up an interesting conflict in therapeutic theories for me. I have been told by numerous coaches that after a long run the best thing to do is to soak your legs in cold water, which I do. If I run more than 2 hours I always try to sit in a cold bath or at least flush out my legs with a hand held shower head with the coldest temp water (learned that from a marathon seminar last year — you can use a handheld shower massager with cold water to flush out your legs). That seems to reduce any swelling in my legs the next day. I feel a really marked difference in my legs if I stretch and soak in cold water vs. stretching alone.

But Epsom salts seems to be a muscle relaxer. So which do I need more? Reduce the sweeling? [Cold water flush] or muscle relaxer? [epsom salts in warm water for a sprained butt]. I guess the answer is both. Cold water immediately after a long run to reduce the swelling and promote the blood flow (my theory of why to do this, not researched). Then the next day if I am still sore soak in hot water with Epsom salts. I plan on soaking in Epsom salts all week because it feels great the next day and I sleep well for some reason. Epsom salts rule!!  Salts for the salty.

Sunday I had a one hour run planned with pickups and recovery. As it turns out I had signed up for the Poland Springs 5 mile run in Central Park. I decided to kill two workouts with one stone. I would stick to my planned workout but I would use the crowd and energy of the race to propel me forward. I had planned for a repeat of Thursday’s workout. A 15 minute warmup (practicing the run/walk) followed by 45 minutes of alternating, timed, efforts. It was very interesting to see so many people leave me behind first 15 minutes only to find myself catch up with them later. I ended up running an average pace of 11:35 which is not my best time but right now I consider anything under a 12 minute mile very good. I was most pleased with forcing myself to stick to my plan and not get swept up into race mode. I did my intervals and recoveries exactly as planned even if it meant not overtaking someone right in front of me. (It also meant that I became one of those annoying people who shoot past you and then slow down to a crawl.) I felt good to finish in under an hour.

All in all I’m feeling pretty good. I feel rested, finally. I do not feel burnt out in anyway. Even though I am officially signed up for the 1/2 Ironman team, this is preseason so I haven’t felt any guilt in letting my biking and swimming ease up in place of running. I’ve been biking and swimming, just not with any fervor. Concentrating on the marathon has given me a break from training in a way (even though technically I’m still training, just not for a triathlon.) I feel fine. I don’t feel nervous. I know the marathon will have some great discomfort but I’m going in with the attitude that a little pain won’t kill me — it will just make me stronger.

There is some comfort in knowing what I am up against. I know what it is like to run 26.2 miles (not exactly pleasant). I know the course. I know what I have to do. There are no nervous butterflies like in 2005 when just whispering the word “marathon” sent me into an anxious state. Similar to when the words “half ironman” made me shake and the dramas and traumas I associated with “ironman” — those feelings have been replaced with an understanding and resolve that anything is possible if you prepare for it and break it down into manageable elements. I’m not saying I think this will be easy — far from it. I suffer immensly doing 1 minute pickups during my workouts so the idea of possibly suffering for 5-6 hours is not exactly a thrill. Of course it is not going to hurt the entire time and the faster I finish the less I will have to endure.

I have a race plan. I feel comfortable with it. I have good equipment. I’ve trained — I’ve done pretty much everything on my training plan — even more with the extra yoga and now fight club too. So now I get to enjoy the fun part — the buzz of the event itself is fun. Meeting the people before, during and after the race. Running through each borough is fun — listening to the bands, seeing the different neighborhoods, the different people. This time I will be prepared with the proper nutrition and not be out of gels by mile 10!! I understand that I’m not as fast as I wanted to be by this time but I’m healthy and I’m strong and I’m in a good head space. Plus it looks like it is going to be in the high 50’s this year not hit the 70’s like it did in 2005.

All in all I think I am in a good place. I am enjoying my taper because as soon as the marathon is over, the real work begins…. Who’d have ever thunk that the marathon would be a training season kick off instead of being the culmination?

Namaste

This cartoon applied to me in 2005 but not in 2009.

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10/23/08 Fight Club

Thursday.  Had a decent enough run on Tuesday, was supposed to be an easy run so I’m just letting that be.  I decided that sleep was more important this week and next week than getting up at the crack of stupid (Sunshine) and I’m not going to the night time run practices either.  For this week and next week I’m trying to get my sleep under control and everything will be same bedtime and same wake time.   (Okay except last night was bookclub so I stayed up a little late.)  Off topic:  For Wes, my personal librarian, fyi we read “The Bookseller of Kabul” by Asne Seierstad and everyone liked it.

Yesterday I made it to the Fight Club class.  Shocker of shockers I actually kind of didn’t hate it.  I was convinced that I wasn’t going to be able to do it and that I would be embarrassed amongst a bunch of bada$$es but comes to turn out they were really nice bada$$es and by the end of the class I was giving the kick boxing bag a run for it’s money.  I’m not kidding, I think the bag was shaking scared.

When I got to the class it was four really, really fit guys and two gals who looked just normal, nothing scary.  They were all really nice and showed me how to wrap up my hands before putting on the boxing gloves.  That was my first time ever putting boxing gloves on.  The wrap is really to protect your wrists.  The string loops around your thumb and then you wrap it alternating around your thumb and then around your wrist until the wrap is snug but not cutting off your circulation.   Reminded me of putting a new grip on a tennis racquet.

First thing 40 jumping jacks.  Crap.  I hate jumping jacks.  But strangely I was able to do them.  I wasn’t sure exactly when that happened.  I was surprised last week too that I was able to do jumping jacks in the gym with the team.  I remember trying to do jumping jacks a couple of years ago with Rhonda and they just hurt my knees too much and I couldn’t do them.  That was a nice little surprise that my knees didn’t hurt doing those.

Then we had to do a bunch of crunches with weights.  Everything went so fast so I’m not really sure of the order but we did a crunch and at the top of the crunch we had to do a jab and a cross (check me out knowing what a jab and a cross are!!) while holding weights in our hands.  Not too bad.  There were a lot of variations on crunches like weaving weights between our legs as we crunched and lifted our legs.

The first set of exercises were kicking.  You had to reach up and grab an imaginary neck, pull the imaginary head down and knee your imaginary assailant in the groin.  Then we expanded that to have a second kick — I guess the second kick is to actually knock him to the floor once he is hunched over because you knee-ed him in the groin.  I’m fairly sure I would not intimidate any assailant with my kicks unless I could stop him and say “excuse me, would you mind waiting a second while I get myself into the proper position to stop you?  I think my right foot goes here, no wait, wait, my left foot goes there and my hands go…..  wait, wait, hey, where are you going?!?!?”

Then we did what I guess you would call shadow boxing.  It was very similar to learning a dance routine.  Jab, cross.  Jab, cross.   Upper cut, hook, upper cut, hook.  Now put it together, jab, cross, upper cut, hook.   Now faster.  Now end with six punches.  Faster.  We are looking in the mirror while doing this, aiming at our own faces.  So I guess that would be called mirror boxing.

The hardest part for me was getting the footwork down.  You are supposed to slide forward for the jab but then you keep your foot back for the cross but then you jump back.  Protect your face, protect your chest, protect your groin.  Slide forward, bounce back.  Do it again, faster.  Faster arghhh, which is my left and which is my right?

Then we did the same thing with a stretchy band behind our shoulders to give resistance.  Punch, punch, jab, cross, upper cut, omg I can’t remember which foot goes where and everyone is moving so fast.  SLOW DOWN!  Not so FAST!!

Then I think we had to do some more crunches or something.  I don’t even remember it’s kind of blurry, everyone moved so fast.  When in doubt I just flailed my arms around and pretended to know what I was doing.  Very I Love Lucy.

Then we dragged out these big punching bags.  That’s actually when it got kind of fun.  Now we take the little routine we were building and we do the punching onto the bag but you have to kind of bounce and dance around like you were really fighting it.  It felt surprisingly liberating.  You can really let out a lot of frustration on the bag.  It doesn’t really care how hard you hit it.  The instructor shouts out the commands and then we hit and move around our bag.  There are a lot of subtleties in the “dancing” part that I wasn’t getting.  Like after you jab you are supposed to lean to the left (I guess to avoid the imaginary retaliation) before you come back in with your cross into the gut of the bag.

The last part was my favorite part.  Frankly I’m shocked to discover that I like to kick the crap out of things.  I have never kicked anything ever — okay maybe a computer but that was out of desperation.  We learned two different kinds of kicks, the front kick where you kick your flat foot in the gut and try to knock the bag over.   I was able to move the bag about 2 inches.  The other people were moving the bag about a foot and one guy was actually knocking the thing over.  When he kicked the bag I actually felt sorry for the bag.

By far my favorite kick is the swinging out wide and crossing over kick (I just made up that name, I don’t know what it is called.)  I felt very Kung Fu panda.  Release your inner panda.  Then we did combination kicks and I actually got that right.  You kick forward with the straight kick, rock back and then flip your leg up and kick from the side.  Do it from the otherside.  Faster!!  You can’t help but feel tough.  Even if you are a middle aged woman in baggy shorts and a sparking white St. Anthony’s triathlon shirt.  (Why did that outfit feel totally lame?  I have to get some grey tshirts and bandanas — need to look tougher and not so Tri-geekly.)

Then we put everything together, jab, cross, upper cut, hook, kick front, kick side, dance around.  Do it again, faster, faster, faster!!  Freestyle!!  Just beat the crap out of the bag for a minute then rest.  Do it again!!  We did one minute hard then a little rest.

More crunches, throw a yoga sack n the air as you crunch up, catch it before you go back down.  Crunch up toss yoga sack side to side.  More crunches, crunches, crunches.  I am actually okay with crunches.  I was waiting for the pushups.  No pushups.  I think she was being nice because I had said I couldn’t do pushups.  My theory is she wanted me to have a good time so I would come back.  I think I will go back but now today I have to do pushups anyway.

Because it was all new to me, the hour felt like 2 minutes.  I was sweating the whole time, you never really stop but at the same time you control what effort you give it.  So if I wasn’t feeling 100% I could just not kick or punch as hard.  After a few kicks and punches you really get into it and start having Taxidriver scenes in your head.  “You talking to me?  You talking to me?”  Wham, who you talking to?  

I have to laugh at myself because it would be so easy to just let myself fall into a fantasy that I’m like Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (the reality is just a wee bit different.)   Michelle Yeoh is the bada$$ at the end of this clip who says “give me the freakin’ sword.”  (Okay I added my own translation there.)  Ziyi Zhang is the other one. (Ziyi Zhang is also in “Hero” which is one of my favorite movies to watch while riding my bike on the indoor trainer. The movie is so beautiful and the fight scenes are amazing.)

I think I might go sword shopping today.

Namaste

Tai Lung: You… you’re just a big… fat… panda!
Po: I’m not a big fat panda. I’m “THE” big fat panda.

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10/21/08 Taper Taper Taper

Tuesday.  I’m happy.  I’ve made it to my taper weeks.  I keep rereading my training schedule over and over and I just get giddy.  Run an hour, take a nap, contemplate navel, nothing hard anywhere (okay, there are some pickups in Thursday and my weekend run but it’s not that long so I wouldn’t call it hard at all.)  Lots of little short runs.  I love that!!  Yoga, fight club and a little biking, that’s it.  Peanuts!!

Sunday was my last big run.  Had to make it count.  3 hours.  Hour 1 warm up on rolling hills, Hour 2 intervals over rolling hills (very, very, very hard, much harder than the 1/2 marathon) Hour 3 good pace (well the best I could muster.)  I was really glad when that run was over because I was pooped.  Long, long, stretching session.

Yesterday I had a nice swim.  I practiced drills from Saturday session, trying to figure out why my swim coach thinks I don’t extend.  I feel like I’m extending, really, I’m reaching, reaching, reaching but he says I don’t extend enough.  Oy.  Worked on my balance and I think I’m a little better.  I was doing some breathing to both sides and I didn’t totally sink to the bottom every time I breathed to the right.  That’s some progress, no?

This morning was power yoga again.  I’d like to say I’m better but really I’m just more aware of what is coming so I can stink at the poses with a little more dignity (last week I kept falling over, now I kind of gracefully slide into a clump).  I’m noticing a major difference between balancing on my right leg (strong) and my left leg (weak).  My flexibility is lacking in my left leg too.  Of course we had to do a bunch of poses that hurt like the pigeon pose.  They just kill me but I know they are good for me so I keep on going.  The sad part about the pigeons pose is that if I could just sit down on my hip on the floor it would be much less painful but that’s not the pose.  Your hip has to be up as you lower over your bent leg.  Of course everyone in the room looks like this:

I do not look so calm.  I’m kind of wincing.  But I’m getting better and that’s what counts.

Today my little breakthrough was I ALMOST did a back bend.  We were on our backs doing bridges and then we were to put our hands over our heads and push up into a back bend.  I actually got my body up for one second but my shoulders were not strong enough to stay there.  But one second today equals two seconds next week and someday a whole minute.

Today all I have to do is an easy 1 hour run.  Woo hoo!!  Love 1 hour runs.  I even love 1:30 runs as long as they are my own pace.  This running up and down hills and picking up the pace while doing it is a killer.  But for the next two weeks I don’t have anything really hard and I can just rest up for the marathon.  I have no idea why the idea of tapering is making me so happy, I feel like I’m out on vacation from school.

Tomorrow I have my first Fight Club class.  I’m a little nervous but I know this is going to be good for me.  It will only hurt for the first month or so, then I’ll be up to speed.  What doesn’t kill me….

So that’s it.  An hour run here, yoga class there.  Every day a little movement nothing extreme.  Ahhhh, I think that’s how normal people exercise.  And then next week even less.  I’m so excited, it sounds downright civilized!!!

Namaste

I found this quote from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (an ancient yoga text written by Swami Swatmarama in the 15th century.)

anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy. Constant practice alone is the secret of success.”

I thought that sounded rather harsh (unsympathetic to lazy people) so I looked up the original text to see if I could find a gentler translation. Instead I found this:

“Yoga is destroyed by the following six causes:– Over-eating, exertion, talkativeness, adhering to rules, i.e., cold bath in the morning, eating at night, or eating fruits only, company of men, and unsteadiness.”

So basically I’m screwed…. lol

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10/18/08 Whine-free Zone

Saturday.  Crazy busy week.  Every day jammed packed.  In many ways a good week.  I feel I have definitely started training again (yes, I am aware I haven’t even done the marathon so I should still be in training). 

After resting up with some walking and stretching on Friday/Saturday of last week (Friday self-imposed rest day, too much work to workout),  I think I went into the Staten Island 1/2 Marathon as well prepared as I could be.  My goal was to do better than that awful 18 miler where I averaged a 13:20.  I need to get something back down into the 12’s.  I wasn’t looking to PR — I just wanted to do better.

My best 1/2 marathon to date was the More Half back in April.  I ran that in 2 hours 35 minutes for a pace of 11:54 minute mile average.  To be honest I don’t even know how I ever did that because that was two loops of central park and I would consider that hilly.  I wasn’t even trying to touch that time, I would be happy with anything in the 12’s.  So I did a very specific run/walk plan breaking the race up into three segments (beginning, middle and smell the barn finish).  I ended up doing in 2 hours 44 minutes (pace of 12:35).  Considering I was doing deliberate 2 minutes of walking every mile, I am fine with that result.  I am most pleased that I stuck with my plan and I finished the race feeling strong.   My knees held up.  I wasn’t dead the next day.  I had put in a few miles before the race.  I’ll chalk it up to an okay day.

Tuesday I finally got back into my yoga class.  Boy did it literally kick my butt. I actually think I sprained my butt if that is possible.  I’m kind of annoyed with myself for not getting back to the class sooner.  It’s frustrating to see that I can no longer do movements that I could do two years ago but I know if I just keep going I will get better every week and soon enough I’ll be able to do everything again.  The class is called Power Yoga and I am usually sweating within the first ten minutes.  I brought an extra towel with me this week.

As I was waiting to go into the class on Tuesday morning I witnessed something that filled with with awe and my friends know I use this word sparingly — INSPIRATION.  There was a class going on before the yoga class.  One of those new fangled classes where they do a little of everything punching, kicking — looks very complicated.  It’s called “Fight Club.” 

The instructor is yelling out commands and all of a sudden she yells “25 pushups!”  I gulped.  Pushups.  Haven’t done one of those in an age.  But the inspiring part was watching her do them.  I see people do pushups all the time.  Nice and slow down, nice and slow up.  Not this gal.  Bump, de bump, de bump.  She’s pounding out these pushups like she’s tapping her fingers.    The killer part is as she is doing them she’s shouting out instructions to the rest of the class (I didn’t even notice what the rest of them were doing — I was so busy watching her.)  My chin literally dropped to my chest and I just stood there watching as she pumped out those pushups like they were nothing.  100% perfect form and seemingly effortless.  I’m sure she could have done 200 or some ridiculous number. 

As I stood there with my mouth open I will filled with the same desire I had in 2004 when I first watched the Ironman.  I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT.  I was willing to pay her any amount of money to train me (okay I don’t actually have any money left but if I did I would have gladly given it to her.)  The class quickly dismissed and the yoga class set up and before I could even say Vinyasa, I was twisting like a pretzel and staring at my toes while upside down.  Pushups would have to wait for another day.

After yoga I did a swim session.  Was okay, nothing to write home about.

Wednesday had an easy bike workout in the am and a good run in the afternoon. 

Thursday met with my team for evening workout.  We started with drills.  Butt kicks, grapevines — they are all okay, but running up and down the stairs is not my cup of tea.  Moan, groan — just do it, it’s good for you.  After that we did some Fartleks (speed intervals).  It was good because for the first time in my life I have a pack of people to train with.  We had five people in our little group and we all stayed somewhat near one another.  We were doing speed work so the point wasn’t to run next to each other but I think we pushed one another to work so that was good.  Usually I am just stuck out in the woods picking twigs out of my shorts while everyone else is already home in a hot shower.

Afterwards we did some core and I was whining too much.  I hate rolling around in the grass and doing core work but when I got home I really had to have a good talking with myself.  Suck it up.  Quit your moaning.  If you didn’t whine so much maybe you would get better at these exercises you hate so much.  Okay mental promise to stop whining. 

Only problem with Thursday nights is by the time I walked home it was 9:30 (I’m usually in bed by 10).  Of course now I’m hungry and I find myself in front of the tv and eating at 9:30 at night (usually I’m done eating at a very senior citizenly 5 or 6 p.m.)  I wasn’t starving but I needed to unwind and that’s going to take some getting used to.  I also wanted to make the Friday a.m. yoga class so I forced myself to sleep by 11.  I had been doing very well all week with documenting my food and although I was over my daily points, not by too, too much.

Friday morning I went down to attempt Power Yoga again.  This time, however, the gal behind the desk was the same gal who had been running that Fight Club class from Tuesday.  I had to gush and tell her how awesome that had been to watch.  Turns out she is some kind of martial arts pro/teacher/expert something or other.  I forgot which martial art she said but she said she had been doing it since she was 7. 

I asked her if she did personal training, she said no but she taught several classes and beginners were welcome.  I told her my ego was too big to go into that class not being able to do a decent pushup.  The people in the class looked pretty tough.  She said it was just because they had all been taking the class for awhile.  I told her that I would start practicing my pushups and when I could do ten again (that was where I left off before shoulder problems) I would come to class.

As I was about to enter the yoga class she stopped me and said she has another class where there are only 4 students and if I wanted to come to that class it would be much less intimidating and it would be okay if I wanted to do modified pushups.  She said she also gets to give more personalized attention and would help me.  (I know there is no real help for doing pushups other than doing them but it’s nice to have someone screaming at you to do one more.)  The other gal behind the counter kept nodding her head yes, I should do that class.  I told her I would think about it.  As I was about to open the door to yoga I turned around and said “I’ll do it.  I’ll start next week.  It’s going to kill me but I think I need to do it.”  The other gal behind the counter said “I can call you next week to remind you if you want.”  Nope, I’ll be there.  I may whine, I may be slow but the one thing I will say about myself when I say I’m going to do something I do it.  I’m nervous but excited.  I might have to skip the class the week of the marathon but we’ll see.

Yoga kicked my butt again.  Lot’s of things I can’t do but I know this is exactly what I need to be working on.  I need the wholistic stuff.  The core strength, the stretching, the extra stretching, the ultra stretching.  I hate the pigeon pose but I know I need to do it.  I need to be able to balance again.  I used to be able to do tree pose and bow pose.  I have zero balance now.  I need to reclaim all of that.  Back to square one when I was working out with Rhonda on just the basic stuff.

Weight Watchers was a great meeting, not just because I lost 2.6 pounds this week (yeah for tracking and sticking to a plan!)  But it was also about setting goals and asking for help and receiving help.  That was how I felt the week had been going.  I know I’m technically still wrapping up marathon season but I really feel I’m starting a new season.  The marathon is just something I’ll do for fun and fitness.  I’m not worried about my time.  I just want to finish it injury free and enjoy one of the perks of running my butt off all year.  It’s fun to run through the different boroughs and see the people and the excitement.  I’m looking forward to it.

Unfortunately my Friday run stunk.  Everything hurt.  Really I think sprained my butt in yoga.  Between Thursday night and Friday morning I think I just overdid a little and I didn’t get enough sleep.  I was exhausted and everything was tight.  I know it was the same day I did yoga so I should be all stretched but I wasn’t.  I bailed after two miles.  I couldn’t move.  I needed sleep and I needed a stretch.  Everything hurt and my mind was just not into it.  I was mad at myself but I tried to remind myself that I had had some good runs over the last two weeks and that training is not about one day.  Still I was disappointed.

This morning we had group swim (I have a lot of work to do on the swim but it’s just going to have to get in line with all the other self-improvements.)   After the swim we had a really good training session in the gym.  They went through a bunch of exercises that we should be doing.  I found myself once again whining too much.  I can’t do an inverted pullup.  I can’t do a burpee pushup (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/henkin18d.gif).  I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.  Ugh, there was that whiner again.  They gave me a modified version where I just step back.  Okay I could do that, I conceded.

We all did a little set of jumping jacks, planks and pushups.  One of the coaches worked with me on modifying my pushup for my shoulder.  First I demonstrated to him what was happening when I did a regular pushup.  We could both hear my shoulder clicking.  But what I feel is a bone jumping out and sticking into my clavical.   He had my put my hands close together under my chest — more like a yoga pushup.  No clicking.  I wish it was easier but at least bones aren’t popping out.  That’s just strength I need to build.

Then when nobody was looking I went over to the inverted pullup bar.  I got down on the floor, grabbed the bar and pulled myself up.  It wasn’t pretty and I couldn’t do a hundred of them, but I could do it.  Hmmm, why did I just assume I couldn’t do it?  That made me feel a little better. 

Then a couple of the gals were trying to do the burpees off to the side.  One did it.  Great I said.  That looked great.  Then the other one tried it.  They looked a little shakey but for the first time doing them I thought pretty good.  I would never be able to do it.  “Try it” one of them said.  It’s not that hard.  I knew I couldn’t do it because in yoga we have to always jump to our hands and I have to walk.  But I said what the heck and got down and tried it.  Again, it wasn’t pretty.  I probably couldn’t do too many.  But I did it.  And as soon as I did it I knew with very little extra practice I could master that.  Like most things, it looks harder than it is.  Again I had to ask myself, why do you assume you can’t do that? 

Then we did a 1:10 minute run and it was good.  I felt none of the stiffness or soreness of the day before.  Everything felt fine, back to normal.  Go figure.   Cat, Maggie and I stayed pretty much together.  Cat doing a lot of the pulling but that was good for me to stay focussed and keeping up with her.  It wasn’t too hard of a pace but I realized that having two others out there with me stopped me from drifting into la-la land.  I’m not saying I was running faster because depending on how I feel I could run faster or slower, but it was nice to be accountable to keeping up.  There was no reason I couldn’t keep up so I had to just tell myself to do it.  Stop your whining and just do it.

Tomorrow, 3 hour run.  No whining allowed.  Next week Fight Club.  Oh yeah!!!

Namaste

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10/10/08 New Beginnings

Friday. Busy week.  Feel like I’m back in school. Fall is here and a new season with Trilife started, tons of work-work.  Summer is over, everybody is back in full swing mode. I’m trapped at my desk through November — September/October/November is one of my busy seasons. The months are flying by.  I have no idea what happened to September and the marathon is only three weeks away.  How did that happen?

Tuesday I did an hour run.  Ran by the river, nothing spectacular.  A little creaky but now I feel okay with stopping my watch and stretching for a good five minutes after running for ten.  It really makes a difference.  Was pleased to be able to put in a decent  effort towards the end.

The new Trilife training season has begun and it should be even more fun for me this season because a lot of friends are on my 1/2 Ironman team.  Cat, Mo, Jen, Michelle, Maggie will be there every workout and I predict a lot of post-workout brunches.  Ro will join us in January and I think I smell trouble with a capital Rumble brewing.  Several people from my Ironman team have joined the 1/2 team so there are a lot of friendly faces around.  Rumor has it Rob and Anne may show up to a practice someday too.  Even the new people seem to be very nice.

Wednesday I had my first group bike workout of the season.  Back to 5:30 a.m. so we can sleep in an extra 20 minutes! lol Cat, Jen some other gal and I made up our own little group coached by Renee.  It was nice and easy pace and I really appreciated that since I was still in a lot of discomfort from Tour de Pink.  Four lower loops with bike handling skills and then two big loops practicing pace lining.  Easy Peasy and no problem.  Back to basics. Feels nice to not get dropped again, though I didn’t get my endorphin “high” from riding hard.

After bike workout I hit the courts up at Riverside with John.  Had a nice session.  Just did a lot of hitting and then played some points.  My serve stunk.  When it went in it was fine but I was missing a lot.  Need more serving practice.  Everything else seems to be coming along.  Felt my movement was pretty good – hitting a lot of balls and starting to put some pace on them.  Fall has always been my favorite season to play tennis outdoors.  The air is crisp and cool.  You can breathe, you can run.  Nothing feels better.

I also had to put in a 1 hour run on Wednesday — big workout day.  For this run I was practicing my run/walk.  4 minutes running 1 minute walking.  But during the 4 minutes running I ran harder than I usually run.  VERY interesting to find that not only did I make it to the same point I made it on Tuesday doing my 1 hour run, I made it about 200 meters farther (I made mental note of a place marker so I can calc the distance on my bike next week).  I felt good during the hard running portions but I didn’t want to go longer than 4 minutes and needed the 1 minute recovery.  Hardest part for me was tracking 4 minutes and 1 minute. I kept going into a zone and forgetting to look at my watch. It was a good session.

Last night was my first evening team run.  Ugh this is going to be very hard for me.  Practice starts at 7 p.m.  It’s dark already.  I’ve been up since 5 a.m., I’m ready to settle into a good read and instead I’m running in the woods.  (Okay, not exactly the woods, but it was dark and there were trees in the park).  I have promised to make every possible Thursday night run practice.  This alone might kill me.  I am a morning person.  I will get up at 4 a.m. and go running in the dark but 7 p.m. feels like midnight to me.  But, I will do it.  At least there are a few people running close to my pace so I won’t be running totally alone.  I will have to work to keep up but that’s okay. 

We did some core work.  I still can’t do the pushups.  Something in my shoulder never really healed correctly.  It doesn’t droop as much as it used to but I think something is still misaligned.  When I try to do a pushup a bone sticks out of my shoulder and towards my clavicle.  It feels like a stick poking me and hurts.  One of the coaches told me to try using pushup handles to see if that will help.  She thinks I’m rotating my shoulder because my lats aren’t strong enough.  I’ll give it a try.  I can do a plank but I can’t do a pushup or side plank on that one side.  That will be a short term goal — to conquer that once and for all.

We had a good review of running technique.   I like talking about technique so it was interesting to me.  Like tennis lessons — never hurts to keep reviewing because someday something might actually sink in.  When we are ready to hear something we finally hear it, no matter how many times it has been repeated it can sound like new information if you are ready to receive.

We reviewed most of the mechanics of running — including posture, form and mechanics.  This time, however, I focussed in on when he was talking about the three factors that contribute to speed — cadence, stride length and power.  I’m used to talking about cadence and try as I will I get stuck at 85 but I am going to do my best to get that up to 90.  I also know my stride length is too short and I have been working on that.  But the the one thing I think I can work more on because I don’t think about it at all is power.  My friend Sunshine used to run next to me saying “pop, pop, pop.”  I was more plop, plop, plop.  I don’t think I do enough of the pushing off in each step.   Okay I don’t do ANY pushing off.  Ironically, the faster I run the more I can feel the pop but those moments are few and far between.  All the stars have to be aligned for me to get that cadence, stride length and popping going.  I’m kind of past my popping prime, but I’m working on it. 

Today I am supposed to bike but I don’t think I can.  The idea of getting on the bike again is very painful. I think I’ll do an old fashioned gym workout.  I think I may go down and work on my lats.  Get reacquainted with the cardio equipment in my gym and follow it with a pool session. I haven’t used the rowing machine in an age — that would be fun to do that and the elliptical for an hour.

Saturday I get a day off to rest up for Sunday so it will be me and my lovely pilates machine.  Sunday I am kind of doing 18.5 miles.  I say kind of because I’m covering 18.5 miles but I’m not running them all.  I’m going to do a brisk walk to the Staten Island Ferry (4.5 miles) with my small backpack on my back.  Then I’m going to do the Staten Island Half.  I’m taking the day of rest on Saturday so I can do a little better than I did on that 18 miler. I want to do well at Staten Island. I need a confidence builder right now. A little reward for a lot of training.  The weather should be crisp and cool — perfect running weather and it is a fairly flat course.  (I remember one longish hill but that’s it.)   If I am rested I hope I can do well.  My plan is to walk to the Ferry and then do a good stretch on the Ferry.  I have a run/walk plan mapped out and if all goes well I should do okay.  I’m not trying to beat my best time but I would like to be back in the low 12’s.  Apparently I did a 2:35 for the More Half (11:54) and 2:38 for the Bronx half (12:07) back in the Spring.  (Really? I did that?) I’ll be happy with anything under a 12:30 minute mile and the closer I can get to a 12 the happier I’ll be.  None of this 13:20 stuff.

So that’s my plan.  Food is going okay, I guess. I’m eating a lot — seem to be constantly hungry.  But I am eating all good stuff.  Lots of veggies, fruits and grains.  Not really eating too much off plan but there is room to tighten up the reins a bit.  Dining out remains a problem for me — too many simple carbs.  I’m hoping with training starting to pick up I’ll burn a little more off.  Overall I’m feeling good and healthy.  What more can I ask for?

Namaste

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

George Eliot

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