Seen this movie before…

Sun, April 29
Cross-training at Life Center this morning

So, yeah chose not to run the 6 miles on my training program in order to rest my shins. Instead I ran 31 minutes on the elliptical and burned 300 calories and then 20 minutes on the bike for an additional 60 calories. It turns out that the elliptical is a better bet, yeah??!! It felt good to get sweaty and to NOT hurt at all doing it!! As I was working out this morning I was feeling deja vous from my first 1/2 training last May. I had an issue with my calves then and remember something about having to skip my last long run. I looked it up and sure enough…here is the blog entry from that day a year ago…

On the road to recovery
Sat, May 7, 2011
Did 30 minutes on the elliptical at a level 6; Burned 266 calories
So yes, I did not do the 6 mile run that was on my training program schedule today. The general consensus from everyone I talked to, facebooked and chatted with said not to, so I didn’t, but to cross-train instead with the elliptical or spinning instead. I have to say that the elliptical was a pretty good workout! I haven’t done one in quite awhile so it took a few seconds to remember how to use the machine. I had no idea what level to put it on so I just guessed and I definitely felt like I got a good workout. The sweat factor was pretty high! I also enjoyed the fact that I had no pain, whatsoever in my calf muscles – SCORE! That hasn’t happened in a long time too…different muscle groups for sure! After I was done I did an ab circuit. Many have told me that I should continue to make sure my core is strong. I did 60 butterfly kicks and 60 bicycles (broken up 30 and 30) and then finished with a one-minute plank. I stretched before and after the workout as well. My calf feels pretty good – not normal, but much better.
My plan is to rest tomorrow and just see how I feel on Monday. I will either try to run a short distance or continue to cross train on Monday. One day at a time this week. What I do know for sure is that I’ll be downtown a week from tomorrow celebrating!!

Too funny, right? I think I’ll attempt running at lunch tomorrow – I’ll see how I feel. Last year I ran M and W and did yoga T, TH and F so hey, why not?? It turned out well last year…that will be the plan for now. Of course always subject to change…

My good friend, “mat”.

Sat, April 28
Saturday yoga

Today’s practice was crazy hard. Amy was gone last week and she told us she missed us. Uh-oh. I knew what that meant – she was going to work us hard. And she did! We did what she called the “wheel challenge” which meant that we did 4 wheels and held each for 7 seconds each. That felt really good and wasn’t too difficult actually. But the abs were killer today! We didn’t do many balancing poses, but we did the half split which I actually kinda dig. I can actually do it with a block underneath me and it feels really good and is a great opener. I was really bummed after Weight Watchers because I had gone up a pound which completely crazy! I was really discouraged especially with all the activity I’m doing lately!! I’ve already been bummed about having to deal with these annoying shin splints and not running this week. At first it affected my confidence and those feelings came up on my mat, but one thing that Mo said at the beginning of practice helped me. She said, “remember your mat is your friend and it does not mind if you leave stuff here. It can take it and will clean it up.” It was as if she read my mind! So I worked it out hard and left it there. Of course I felt better after yoga, per usual. I ended up spending the day hanging at home doing odds and ends, but mainly relaxing. I needed a day like that.

On the low impact train…

Fri, April 27
Yoga at lunch

Great practice today with Amy. We did side forearm plank for the first time which was pretty cool. It was freezing in the room at first so it was a little bit tough relaxing into it, but we rocked it out and ended up with a good workout. We did a few crows and I did a tripod headstand. I seem to be getting more used to the 90 minute class, however. The 60 minute classes just don’t seem to be enough anymore.

In other news, I heard back from Jenn Hadfield and she confirmed what I had guessed. I should rest from running and do low impact stuff like elliptical, biking, swimming etc. She also said that if the pain persists going into the half I should reconsider running as I don’t want to risk more severe injury and prolonged recovery. That is what I thought. So, I will be the dutiful soldier and follow her advice – she has never led me astray yet!

So, yoga tomorrow – 90 blissful minutes and then about 1 hour and 15 minutes at the gym doing elliptical, bike stuff. One day at a time and we’ll see what happens on May 6!

Chin Splints – the ones on your legs

Wed, April 25
Yoga at 6am and an “injured run” 12 hours later!

Well, I really missed yoga yesterday so I decided to go this morning as well as get my run in this afternoon. I had not been to a Kevin class for awhile. It was really hard because he kept us in sustained poses for much longer than normal. We did a good series of balancing poses, as well. He always has us do them twice…once to get the kinks out and the second time to play with it. It was interesting because he asked us to just recognize if “stuff comes up for us” in these poses. Just notice it like a cloud passing on a sunny day. This is what I love about yoga. You can really learn about yourself on your mat. I find in balancing poses I immediately think I need to do it perfectly and that I can’t fall. As soon as I start thinking about that and get anxious about it, I start holding my breath, my eyes dart around the room and I, yep, you guessed it….fall. I have noticed that if I’m able to be calm, focus on my drishti (fixed gaze) and breath with no drama, I’m able to maintain the pose longer. So true in life true, right?

No the drama happened later…

5pm – “Ran” 45 minutes
Distance – 3.5 miles

So after my walk debacle on Monday and my nice rest day yesterday I was bound and determined to run today! Come hell or high water!! Well, there was no high water…

I ran after work as I was staying for an evening speaker. For most of the first mile I was convinced I had turned the corner. My calves felt fine and I was actually running, albeit slower than normal. However, just before the first lap beeped on my watch I had to stop and walk as my shins (or chins as I called them on my facebook status later that day (hilarious)), were burning really bad and almost brought me to tears. I started walking and looked at my watch and realized I had only gone about 13 minutes…I needed to go 45 and I was determined to get that 45 minutes in no matter what! Tears came to my eyes as I felt defeated thinking about the 13.1 miles I was scheduled to run a mere 10 days from that day in Pittsburgh.

“How can I ever do that when I can’t even run a frickin’ mile right now” I wondered. I kept walking making the plan that I would walk until halfway through the time and then attempt to run all the way back. During my little “walking” portion I had two funny things happen to me. First, I passed a RUN bumper sticker on a parked car. “HA!!” I thought to myself. In days past I would see that and it would motivate me to keep going, but today at that moment I was ready to flip the bird at the sticker, the sticker’s owner and the sticker’s owner’s family. Next, I walked past a dude in his driveway smoking a cigar and I immediately started feeling self righteous and uppity that I was moving and he was standing there poisoning his body. As if reading my mind he yells out, “Hey you are making me feel guilty! You are exercising while I’m standing here smoking!” To which of course I retort…”yeah, but I’m supposed to be running…but I’m injured” (as if he cares about any of this!). But then he adds, “hey, at least you are moving” Yeah, I am moving. Good point! Thank you, Mr. Cigarman! That was all I needed to kick me in the pants and get me started running (okay, kinda jogging, I guess) again. Well, that and I was starting to get cold from the wind blowing on my sweaty body!! I did end up running for the full second half of the run, so that felt good. My legs were aching, but they somehow felt a bit better or at least tolerable.

I went right home and facebooked my cyber trainer, Jenny Hadfield, to find out what I should do with this latest injury situation. I’m awaiting her response…

My Day “Sans” Sports Bra

Tues, April 24

I did not run today.
I did not practice yoga today.
I did not sweat today.
And I survived!
I actually had a day sans sports bra!! Turns out my only activity today was spending an hour sifting through other people’s trash (which is a separate blog entry all by itself). I wish I could tell you that my rest day was peaceful and I was able to reflect and understand the value of a rest day for your body and mind to recuperate and get reset with itself. But the truth is, I missed it! Not in an “I’m an obsessive exerciser” kind of way (do I have to mention again that I powerwalked yesterday??). I missed it just because it is now so much a part of my life. With running (at least in the good old days) I miss the feeling of just being tired and being able to clear my head and get sweaty for a bit. And with yoga, oh, where to begin…I miss stretching and reconnecting with my body in a workout and relaxation combination. I guess that is the thing, with yoga even though it is a workout it also retains the properties of a rest day at the same time. Does that make sense? So going to yoga is actually like a rest day! Do you buy this?! I do think it was good for me to consciously sit out a day and feel what that feels like. I mean, it is one thing to skip a workout because of other time commitments – I’ve certainly done that before and had the side of guilt to go with it. But deliberately deciding to say “no” to activity was different. I still think yoga could fit into both categories – workout and relaxation, but anywho. I tried the rest thing and just like today’s trash audit – I don’t really want to do it again!! But, I vow to listen to my body and try to take cues from it rather than fight it like I have been doing during this training cycle. Just when I think I have learned it all, I get reminded that it has only just begun.

Me: A Powerwalker??!!

Mon, April 23
Power-walked 3 miles in 44 minutes!!!!

So today was odd. I went to do my lunch run and I could not run on the treadmill. My legs could not work and I physically could not get any faster than a 4.1!! So I power walked my workout and tried not to berate my body for this latest detour. I mean I was movin’ and sweating almost the same amount as running, walking? Seriously?? I have a 1/2 to run in two weeks and I cannot even run 3 miles? I was pretty bummed about it all day until I realized something. I have not taken a rest day after my long run for weeks. My training program says to take a rest day on Sunday as Saturday is the long run day. Well, for those of you keeping up at home, I have been doing my long runs on Sunday because I always seem to want to do yoga on Saturdays. Which means – no rest day. This could be part of the problem, I guess. Between this walking deal and being so slow when I do actually run lately I have just been really discouraged about this whole running thing. I mean it is not as if I’m injured really. I mean I don’t have pain walking, really. My legs just feel really weak. It really does not make a whole lot of sense. I tried to give myself the pep talk about, “well, at least I did something and not nothing today”, but that didn’t stick. Hmmm – nothing. Maybe that is what I need to do for a day. A rest day – take an actual rest day from running…and dare I say, EVEN SKIP YOGA. What? Blasphemy!! Maybe, but that is the plan for tomorrow…

My first yoga workshop

Sun, April 22

I went to my first yoga workshop at the yoga lounge today from 12:30pm – 3pm and it was really interesting. I learned a lot! Amy taught it with two other assistants. There were tons of people there (maybe 30??), most of whom were brand new to yoga which I thought was very exciting!! It was the Basics I workshop so Amy took time to explain everything really well. First we all went around the room and said our name and what we hoped to get out of the class. I said that I wanted to just grow in my practice and learn better alignment. I just feel like a sponge with yoga right now. Any chance I can get to learn more and I am there!! She introduced the class to sitting on the block and took us through a short meditation exercise. Then she taught us downward facing dog and broke it down for us. I learned something new about the pose that I wasn’t doing before. I was not turning my upper arms inward before and as I learned to do that today I felt more open and that I could get more into the pose doing that. She then taught the class the flow – high push-up to low, cobra, and upward facing dog. In between these short sequences we all sat back down and she took questions. It was interesting hearing from folks who were brand new to the class. We did a few exercises with a partner. I had gone to the workshop with my friend, Lori so we naturally partnered up. First, we assisted each other in getting more into updog and later we helped each other get our spines more aligned in dolphin. Both things felt really good and were really fun to do! Then she taught the group warrior 1 and warrior 2, and triangle. We did one airchair, ragdoll and gorilla in there too. Lastly she taught us tree and eagle. We did one inversion with our legs straight up (I always forget the name of this one!) and then did spinal twists and ended up in shevasana. As always she wove a little bit about herself throughout the afternoon so that made it really great. I would definitely continue to attend any and all workshops that are offered. Plus I highly recommend the workshop for anyone who is brand new to yoga. It was very informative and as always, very welcoming, safe (as in the poses are done correctly) and non-judgmental. Come and check out the yoga lounge. I’ll see you there!!!

Slower than molasses

Sun, April 22
Ran 8 miles; Time: SLOW!! 1:37:04; Average Pace: SLOW!! 12’07”

Okay, okay, I’ll admit it. I almost don’t want to post about this run. I’m so embarrassed about how slow I went!! And this was running people…not walking!! Today was my “last long run”, 11 miles, before the 1/2 in Pittsburgh which is in 2 weeks. Now it is time for the taper. Well, I started tapering early as I only ran 8 today. Why? Because I didn’t feel like running any more than that! How is that for an answer?!! I set out to run 11, but as I made the turn up route 91 to the big Bertha hill, I promised myself that if I ran all the way up the hill without any walking I would only run up 4 and then run back home – 8 miles. Well, that is what I did! Of course I fretted a little bit shortening my distance by 3 miles, but then I got over it. No, seriously – I really did! I had a great 10 miler a couple weeks ago, and I know I can run the distance. I’ll be fine. But the question now becomes just how friggin’ long will it take me to get there!? Seriously, people an average pace of 12’07” is the slowest I have EVER run before. Well, except maybe the terrible experience – the 16 miler when I was training for Akron on Aug 6 last year. The average pace for that hellish run on the towpath was 12’26” – I looked it up. That day was the most horribly humid day I have ever run. My socks were even soaked. Yes that 16 miler experience rivaled the Hades visit to Bikram yoga, but I digress! Even on my 20 miler that I ran last summer I had an average pace of 11’16”. I mean, what gives? That was only 8 months ago. Am I THAT much older??!! It is just very frustrating. I am up about 10 pounds from what I was in the summer, I think, so that could be it, but really??!! I know extra weight adds more pressure onto your joints, but would I be slowed down that much? Well, to be fair my runs over the last couple of weeks have averaged in the 11 to 11:30 range with a few faster ones in the 10’s thrown in. It should NOT be that big of a deal to me, but it is. So, lose the weight, right? I’M TRYING!! It has been really challenging to do so lately. I have been very active – yoga or running like everyday and eating pretty clean. I got to my meetings and I track what I eat. Aside from a tad bit of night snacking on my pretzels and peanut butter I’ve been pretty much “on program”. It has just been up and down the last couple of months and I can’t seem to get the momentum going down the scale and keep it there.

This week I’m going to continue on with the things that are working, I guess. Perhaps I will get a little bit more real about my “snacking” points and see if that changes anything. Meanwhile I’m trying to stay positive. I mean this ain’t rocket science. Moving forward all the time…

Thank you for the music

I heard earlier this week (thanks to the facebook grapevine) that my beloved elementary school music teacher, Mrs. Hoch, died earlier this month. I happen to hear this news on the same day as Zach’s orchestra concert and just a few days after Zach’s big moment singing the national anthem at the JCU Relay For Life event. I felt like the universe was telling me I had to write about Mrs. Hoch and how she impacted my life. So hear goes…

Mrs. Hoch was my music (choir) teacher at Heim Elementary (grades 1-5) in Buffalo, NY during the mid to late seventies (yes I’m old!). As a little girl I always loved music and singing and Mrs. Hoch was a big part of helping set that foundation for me for the rest of my life. The highlight of my memories with Mrs. Hoch was the Rip Van Winkle musical in which I had a lead part in 5th grade. I played “Dame Van Winkle”, Rip’s wife, and I still remember having to yell, “RIP!! RRRIIIIIPPPPPPP!!! RIP VAN WINKLE!!” at the top of my lungs yelling about the cabin being such a mess and how much I have to work (I haven’t changed much in 30 years!!). I also remembered having to wash my hair a few times after each show because of all the baby powder that we used to make my hair look gray! I had a few solo songs that I probably could still remember all the words to (we have the show on VHS tape somewhere!) and I remember getting a bouquet of flowers from my leading man (hmm…what was his name? My sister probably remembers) at the end of one of the shows. But beyond remembering all of the details about that show, I remember how I felt. I remember feeling important, special and that I was good at something. During those days I began to think that my singing voice might be better than the average bear and that felt really good. This feeling of being good at singing is something that I would cling to in darker days of high school when I wasn’t sure that there was anything else I could do well. Mrs. Hoch instilled that feeling in me through her teaching, love, creativity and generosity.

My hope is that kids can always have music. My hope is that schools can continue to offer wonderful music programs (bands and choirs) so that kids can discover those gifts inside them and be able to express themselves through music. I’m thankful that Zach has a great music program in Hudson and I’m thankful that he seems to have that little ember in him that is stirred by music. My wish and hope is that even as a boy Zach can still find a way to be okay with loving to sing. I have already heard him say things like, “I don’t like choirs…I just like to sing”. It saddens me that our society seems to have a stigma on boys who have the ability and who like to sing. Maybe Zach will have a Mrs. Hoch in his life someday. I sure hope so.

Thank you for the music, Mrs. Hoch. Now you can help direct the choirs of angels. May you rest in peace. Until we meet again…

Perfecting the Plank

Sat, April 21

So true to form for me I chose my yoga class over my 11 mile run this am! The main reason was that it was raining, (I don’t mind if it rains while I’m running, especially in the summer, but I don’t like to start out in the rain), but truth be told I wanted to go to yoga! Is anyone shocked about this??!! Mo led us in a fantastic class today! We did a bunch of challenging sequences. I busted out crow a couple of times, and even did headstand tri-pod. Swweeeeeettt! What I learned today is that there really is such a thing as a comfortable plank pose. It sounds ludicrous, but I think I finally am learning the finer points of the plank. I find that thinking about pushing my heels into the mat and pushing my thighs/quads into the mat it is more comfortable and I feel stronger.

Next up tomorrow: 11 miles in the morning – last long run before the 1/2 and then in the afternoon I have a yoga workshop! Gonna be a busy fitness day – I hope I survive.