Archive for the ‘Training’ Category


Saturday, September 8th, 2012

This morning was the half-marathon that I started training for 12 weeks ago. Even though I never got around to blogging about my training past that first run, I kept up with it! It was hard, and took a lot of time and a lot of people helping with Alexandra (mostly my awesome husband and helpful nanny), but I completed the vast majority of the training runs. I wasn’t as consistent (re: obsessive) about it as I was when I trained the first time, but I had a lot more going on this time around.

Unfortunately, my performance during the race reflected my somewhat half-hearted training.

In training, I worked my way up to 11 miles, which I did this past Sunday without too much trouble (meaning I didn’t walk, which is always my goal). And yet, today, I had to walk shortly after I passed the ten-mile mark. And I walked quite a bit, I’m sorry to say.

It started pouring soon after I resorted to walking, and that didn’t make me start back up with running (or run faster, as it did my training buddies – my sister, and my two best friends). Instead, it made me walk MORE and start feeling sorry for myself: All three of my cohorts were long ahead of me, my entire lower body was tired and sore, I was cold and wet, and I was having some digestive distress… if you know what I mean.

I ended up walking/running/walking/running a lot in miles 10 & 11, and then ran solidly from 12.25 to the finish line.

And when I finished, I wasn’t all that happy (except that it was over) – I was cranky. I was really hoping for a better performance, and I feel like I put in the work to have had a better performance, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, I guess.

My friends did GREAT and I’m super proud of them all! My sister has been having shin splints all through training, one friend had a baby 6 months ago AND was dealing with an ankle injury from a few weeks ago, and my other friend has a weird toe/foot issue wherein he feels a stabbing pain and goes numb after a few miles of running. They were all able to overcome these obstacles and post damn fine times! Like I said: I’m super proud of them :)

As for me? Well, I did it: I finished, and really, that’s the important thing. I was hoping to beat or match my time from two years ago, but I missed that by a good amount. For my first half, my time was 2:24:39, and my time today was 2:41:07. Oh well! At least I did it, and that’s what the main goal was! And now I’m warm, dry, have resolved my digestive distress, and can say that I completed a half-marathon today, and that’s pretty cool.

Here We Go Again…Again!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

For the last year or so, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that my plan to really get back in shape following my pregnancy and baby-having was to run another half-marathon. I took it a step further and committed to a specific half-marathon, which takes place on September 8th.

I’ve been saying this so frequently and confidently, that I don’t think I really realized what I was getting myself into.

Until today, the beginning of the 12-week training program.

For starters, WHEN am I going to be able to run? I have a 7-month old baby for whom I am a full-time caregiver, I am a sole proprieter, and – in all my spare time – I try to keep the household running smoothly and spend a few minutes with my darling husband. Oh, and read The Hunger Games.

Besides that, what am I going to do if I actually make it out there? I haven’t run more than 1.75 miles since last summer, and the training program STARTS at 3 miles. Of course, I could walk some of it, but you’re supposed to do in training what you want to do in your actual performance, and I don’t want to have to walk during the race.

Over the last year, I’ve managed to convince 3 other people to run this half-marathon with me: My sister, Friend #1, and J-Rock. My sister just ran her first 5k last month (her furthest distance to date); Friend #1 ran a half last year, but just  had a baby in MARCH; and J-Roc hasn’t run further than a 5k in his life, either (though I’m convinced he’s a natural-born runner). So these three people are committed to running this race with me, and all three of them reached out to me today to tell me that they ran and find out if I had yet.

The answer was no each time.

Until 10:00 this evening, when I finished my run.

I went out after I put Alex to bed, the only possible time to go today. I almost talked myself out of running a dozen times, too. But  I went, and I did the best that I possibly could, pushing through the hills, the cramps, the fatigue, and the boredom. I ran the whole way – slowly, but successfully.

I simply have to make the time. I have to push myself. It’s the only way if I want to do this, and I do (I’m pretty sure I do, at least, lol)

So there it is: Week 1, Day 1 complete! Huzzah!

Btw – Since it’s been so long since I’ve written anything here, I’d love to know if anyone is reading this so that I don’t waste my precious time writing for no one. If you’re reading this, please leave a quick comment here or on my facebook page so I know. If people care, I’ll do my best to document the experience. Thanks!

New Year, New Baby!

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I’m back! And I had my baby! Her name is Alexandra Constantina, and she surprised her father and I by arriving over 2 weeks early. She was born on October 28, 2011 and weighed just 5lb 10oz. We’ve decided to keep her :)

Since this is a health, fitness, and weight-loss blog, I’ll try to keep my posts centered around that – even though so much of my life these days is about feeding this little creature and less about feeding myself…

Prior to getting pregnant, I weighed 178. At my last doctor’s appointment before having the baby, I weighed 224. Riddle me this: If the baby weighed less than 6 pounds, and the rest of the fluids and birth ‘stuff’ weighed about 10 pounds, how did I gain 46 pounds?

Answer: Eating whatever the hell I wanted to eat and not exercising. Shocker.

Since giving birth, I’ve gotten down to 199 pounds (finally, yesterday morning, after weeks of hovering around 201 – how about THAT for a good way to enter the new year?!). That  means I’ve lost 24 of the 46 pounds I gained, and I have 22 more to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight. Sure, there’s another 10 pounds to get back down to my lowest, and then another 18 to get down to my ultimate goal of 150, but I’m taking baby steps. (Ha – “baby” steps – get it?)

I entered a Biggest Loser Contest that started 2 weeks after Alexandra was born. I felt a little bad at first because during the first 2 weeks of the contest I lost 5 or 6 pounds, which I attribute to the loss of fluids from the pregnancy. However, now I’m struggling to lose weight again (ie: I have to WORK for it) so I no longer feel like it’s unfair. I just got a little head start.

My goal is to get back down to pre-pregnancy weight – 178 – by May 3rd when the contest ends. That gives me 4 months to lose another 21 pounds. I figure if I do that, I might actually win! And if I don’t win but I reach that goal, well who cares about the bragging rights and a little bit of cash?

For the first 6 weeks after giving birth, I wasn’t supposed to exercise. Some days I felt really good though, so I took Alex for a number of walks in those weeks. I felt sore afterward, but it was wonderful getting outside and doing something again! And so nice to have some company, even if she’s less sentient than my cat at this point :)

Two weeks ago I was cleared for exercise by my doctor. I was so excited to get that news, but did I start exercising? No, not really. Not right away at least. I don’t want to be one of those people who uses their kid as an excuse for not exercising, but seriously – a newborn requires a LOT of attention! And when she’s sleeping, I feel like I should either get some sleep myself, do some client work, or do some housework. I’m going to start making more of an effort to schedule it in, though. It’s just as important as those other things.

Last week I exercised a little – I went for a run and I did a 25 minute workout video, both of which I’m sad to say were quite difficult. The run was just under 2 miles and I couldn’t even make it that distance without walking. I walked frequently, but not for long each time. When I returned home, the recovery took a lot longer than it used to. For a few hours, every time I tried to take a deep breath, I coughed. I think much of that had to do with the cold weather, but I’m clearly very out of shape, so it’s likely a combination.

I’m not going to let it get me down, though! It just gives me a good idea of where I am right now. A baseline, if you will. I’ve decided to run another half marathon in September of this year, so I have a long way to go, but I’m confident I can do it. I did it before!

So there you have it: I’m back to eating right. I’m back to exercising. And I’m back to blogging.

I hope you’re all doing well! Here’s to a fantastic 2012! 

Race Recap: IKEA 5k 2010

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

I ran another 5k race this morning. I’m happy to report that it was far more successful than the 5k I did last month, where I couldn’t even run the whole thing without walking. (Still beating myself up about that one…)

This is the second time I ran this particular race. Last year, I did pretty well (great for where I was a year ago!) and this year was even better.

Once again, my friend J-Roc ran it with me. We decided that we’d try to beat each other in an attempt to push ourselves to do better. He was convinced that I’d have a better time, but I wasn’t so sure.

The first mile of this race is downhill, which is great for me. A lot of people have problems running down hills because the impact hurts their knees. It doesn’t bother me at all, though: I still have reasonably young knees, and since I went most of my life without doing much physical activity, they’re not worn out. Advantage: laziness!

So, I ran my little heart out that first mile, passing as many people as possible. After the Mile 1, we got to a trail which was perfectly flat. That’s when I had to slow down to my normal pace… and many of the people I had just passed passed me back.

But not J-Roc!

He didn’t pass me until a little bit into the third mile… :/

Of course, I couldn’t let that stand for long, and I sped up a bit so we were going at the same pace. Shortly before the finish line, I picked it up again (thanks to Huey Lewis on my iPod) and finished ahead of him by a whole 8 seconds. Take THAT, J-Roc!

The best part, really, is that I set a PR, finally breaking thirty minutes in a 5k.

At 29:09.

Yee haw!

Actually, this race only had a chip sensor at the finish, instead of both the start and finish. Which means they give everybody the same start time even though – unless you are at the very front of the pack – you likely didn’t start at the same time as the gun. And I was not at the front.

Which means, my real time is probably more like 28:50 or so, but we won’t split hairs: I broke 30 minutes, and I’m thrilled.

Now I have to set a new goal! Any suggestions?

Race Recap: Run Around the Square

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Yesterday was the 5k race I told you about. I’d like to tell you that I kicked that race’s ass, but – sadly – the opposite is true.

That race totally and completely kicked my ass.

I’m not entirely sure why, either. I have a lot of potential explanations, and more than likely, it’s a combination of them all.

One of my excuses is that I was dressed inappropriately for the weather. When I got up in the morning, it was quite cold. I decided to wear pants instead of my long shorts, and wore a cotton jacket over my short-sleeved tee. I was comfortable until just before the race start when I quickly took off the jacket with the intention of throwing it to my friends who live a block away from the starting line. Unfortunately, I ran right past them so I was stuck with it the entire time. I tied it around my waist where it burned a hole through my midsection like a magnifying glass. It seems I forgot that you’re supposed to dress for 20 degrees warmer than it is when you run.

Also, I think I was a little dehydrated. Stupid me didn’t drink any water prior to the race start. Not sure what I was thinking there. Especially since I took advantage of my friend’s bathroom just before the race – absolutely no reason to have refrained from drinking water.

Which leads me to my next excuse: When I got to the second water station, I really felt like I needed to partake, and since it’s damn near impossible to drink water while running slowed to a walk while drinking. After that, when I was tired (which i was a lot due to the hills in the second mile!), it was a lot harder mentally for me to push myself to continue running because I had already walked. My mind was like, “You’ve already walked once, what’s the difference?”

While I’m sure all of those things contributed to the difficulty I had at yesterday’s race, the main cause is most definitely my lack of training for it. Sure, I work out daily, so I’m not out of shape in general, but I’m out of running shape. Running is a different beast than anything else, and as I’ve learned through experience, consistency in training is key to performance.

So even though I said my goal was simply to have fun, I’m pretty disappointed with myself… and my 33:07 finish.

I didn’t even have that much fun, that’s what really sucks. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad I did it. But for me, if I’m doing poorly at something, it’s hard for me to enjoy it. And the fact that I couldn’t run 3.1 miles without walking – even though I did that and then some just days earlier with J-Roc – makes for a poor performance, indeed.

New Terrain

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Well folks, I’m running another 5k road race today. I’ve been wanting to run this particular race for a few years now, so I’m really looking forward to it.

It’s called the Run Around the Square. It starts out in an adorable residential neighborhood I love with cobblestone streets. I have friends who happen to live on the race course which is neat – I’ve never passed by people I know in a race before! After the “square” the course moves into Frick Park, which is a beautiful – and huge – park right in the city! I’ve never run on trails before, so I’m excited about that.

As always, I’d like to break 30 minutes today and set a new PR. However, this time? I’m not that optimistic about it.

I haven’t been training for this. Like, at all. In fact, I’ve only run three-ish times in the last month! It’s pretty awful, really.

I know I’ll be able to complete the entire race without walking as I’ve kept my fitness level up through P90X, but I’m not sure about my speed. Plus, apparently, the entire second mile is uphill…

Here’s the other thing: I read on the website that it ends at “approximately the three mile mark.” Approximately?! Geez Louise. I guess there’s no reason to kill myself for a PR when the race is an “approximate” 5k. Might be shorter, might be longer… That’ll just mess with my head.

Ok. New plan: run my best and enjoy the new terrain I’m running on. Enjoy running among throngs of people instead of wishing them out of my path. Just, have fun.

I’m always most successful at staying active when it’s fun. What do you do that’s active and fun? Do it this weekend!

Race Recap: Dormont Dash

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Yesterday was the Dormont Dash 5k. My goal for this race was to break 30 minutes and set a new PR.

I woke up in the morning feeling great: I had my usual pre-race breakfast (whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and jelly), put on my clothes which I had lain out the previous night, and headed to the race place not far away.

It was a gorgeous morning, not nearly as hot and humid as it had been recently. The fact that it was 8am didn’t hurt, either. At this point , I was cautiously optimistic about achieving my goal. I haven’t really done much speed work (or any, for that matter), but my pace has steadily quickened over time, and it’s definitely within the realm of possibility that I could do this – I’ve gotten SO CLOSE!

Shortly after I arrived, I met up with N-Cat who was running the race as well. This was her first road race in many years, so she was adorably nervous and excited. I’ve done quite a few 5ks to date so I don’t get that same sort of charge at the starting line anymore; it was neat to live vicariously through her. (That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy doing 5ks, because I do, it’s just different now. If you run races, too, I imagine you know what I mean.)

N-Cat and I didn’t plan to run together since we had different goals: Like I said, my goal was to break 30 minutes, and N-Cat’s goal was simply to finish… ideally not last. I was confident that she would have no problem finishing and not last – even if she wasn’t. (Incidentally, she did awesome, finishing in under 40 minutes, with plenty of people behind her!)

J-Roc ran this race, too, but he arrived late so I didn’t see him until he crossed the finish line. Note to J-Roc: It’s important to arrive on time to road races!  :D

This course was described as having “rolling hills.” That’s a complete understatement. This course was like an M.C. Escher painting as it was almost entirely uphill, and yet the start and finish lines were the at the same elevation. Funny that…

I’m used to running on hills, but this course was absolutely insane. It started out uphill. Then you turn the corner and it was up another hill. Then another and another. Crazy.

Of course, there were some downhills, but I swear, they were few and far between. I did my best to sprint on the downhills because the uphills were so tough and I wanted to try to compensate for that.

About a mile in, I adjusted my goal from “break 30 minutes” to “don’t die.”

I’m pleased to say that I didn’t die, but I also didn’t break 30 minutes. My time was 31:07.3. Not bad considering the course, which was definitely not a course on which to set a PR.

Which means I have the same goal to strive for. It kills me every time I cross the finish line of a 5k and see a ‘3’ in front of my time. I guess that means it’ll be that much more awesome when I finally get there, right?

Close as Two Coats of Paint

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

My goal for this morning’s 5k was to break 30 minutes. Unfortunately, I missed it by this much: My official time was 30:27. So close!

I feel like I did the best I could so I’m not too upset. Also, even though I didn’t break 30 minutes, it was a PR, and my pace was better than 10 minutes per mile (9:49), so that’s really cool.

This is the first race I’ve done where my goal wasn’t to simply “run the entire thing without walking.” For this race, I knew I’d be able to run the whole thing since I increased my mileage so much by training for last week’s half. That makes the next obvious goal speed!

I haven’t really done much speedwork to date. I think I might work some of that into my next round of workouts and see what happens.

Speaking of new workouts, this week starts post half marathon training life. (Last week was recovery!) Tomorrow night, I plan to go to the Total Body Workout class at my gym, which I haven’t been to in months since my hip hop class was on Mondays. I’m really looking forward to it – I could use a total body workout… and a total body massage!

Lazing About

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Most of my week has been spent lazing about. Ok, that’s not entirely true – it’s been incredibly busy work-wise. Workout-wise, though, it was much less intense than last week. Or the last 12 weeks, for that matter.

I haven’t run at all since the half marathon on Sunday. That wasn’t really my intention, but I’m not too broken up about it, either. I did walk twice: To complete a bunch of errands on Monday, and to a restaurant for dinner with my husband yesterday. Both walks were quite enjoyable! I rarely use running to complete errands because I get so sweaty and I’m always running to train, so even though these were walks, it was a nice change of pace. (Ha!)

I am missing the running, though. Luckily for me, I’m running a 5k tomorrow!

It’s the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Pittsburgh. This will be my third running of it, and 2 years ago, it was my very first road race. That gives it a special place in my heart.

My fastest official 5k time to date was last September, at 30:45, but that course was all downhill/flat. Tomorrow’s course is full of hills. Last year I finished this particular 5k in 34:51.

I would really love to break the 30-minute mark tomorrow.

It will be tough, but not impossible at my current level of fitness/training. I’m hoping that with the adrenaline created by running with 35,000 people, and knowing that I only have to go 3.1 miles (as opposed to 13.1!), I’ll be able to push myself to get the added speed necessary to give me a new PR, and under 30 minutes.

Wish me luck! And tune in tomorrow for the results!


Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Three months of training culminated in the half marathon I ran this morning. Spoiler Alert: Consistent training pays off.

Up at 4:45. Out the door by 6. Downtown parking garage by 6:30. Massive line for the porta-potties by 6:45. At the Starting Line by 7:15. (This is all thanks to my husband, King of Logistics! It was soooo wonderful of him to agree to be my driver, photographer, and cheerleader for the day. He’s the best.)

I successfully met up with Fast Willy C prior to the start (what did we do before cell phones?). The gun went off at 7:30, and 7 minutes later, Fast Willy and I finally crossed the Starting Line (we were in the last corral due to our (my) projected finish time).

As any runner can attest, the first mile or two is among the worst: Your body screams out – What are you doing to me? I don’t like this! Cut it out! – and then relaxes a bit after a few miles.

Today that was no different, though the first few miles weren’t nearly as difficult as the last few miles, but we’ll get to that in a bit…

About 3 minutes in, it started to rain. Just a light sprinkle at first, and then an all out RAIN. After a mile or two, it switched back and forth – Sprinkle – Rain – Sprinkle – Rain – for the rest of the race. At first it felt good, cooling off the surprisingly hot (and muggy!) morning. Then it was just annoying: Wet feet, wet clothes, water in your eyes. But as Fast Willy pointed out, there was nothing to do but just keep running!

I was feeling good for quite a while. Not great – I don’t want to pretend that any of it was EASY – but it was a good challenge. One that I had prepared for.

It was Mile 8 when things started to get very difficult. When we first reached the marker, I was excited – 8 miles! – and then I did the math: FIVE MILES LEFT. Oy.

It just got worse from there: My legs started cramping up. It felt like I was getting a blister on my right foot (I didn’t!). I had to go to the bathroom.

I kept going though, mostly because of Fast Willy C. I really wanted to walk. I mean, I didn’t want to, but I wanted to, you know?

When we got to Mile 11, it occurred to me that every new step would be the furthest I had ever run. That was very helpful mentally. Of course, I still had the physical pain. Even so, it was at this point that I told Fast Willy that I knew I would finish.

But I didn’t really know that. It was so hard. I had to keep slowing my pace – the last 2 miles were probably my slowest of the entire race.

At about 12.5, it was clear that Fast Willy still had a lot of energy left, whereas I had none. I told him he should run off to the Finish Line on his own and I would meet him there. He said “We didn’t run this far together not to finish together! We’re going to cross that Finish Line at the same time, arms raised in triumph!”

And that’s exactly what we did. (Photo not taken at the exact moment our arms were in the air, but I promise you, they were up there!)

It felt so good to finish. Right after we crossed, though, we hit a big traffic jam of people going through the chute waiting for their mylar blankets and medals and bananas and bagels etc etc. That part was insanity. And going from running 13.1 miles (!) to standing was very difficult on my body. I cramped up. I felt dizzy. I felt a little sick. Of course, I probably would have felt those things even if I was able to walk at the end, but who knows how badly.

My wonderful husband was there at the Finish Line. I heard him yell my name as I crossed, which was awesome. When we finally met up, he led me to the car – a miserable 10-block walk – and drove me home. And then made me lunch. And then let me take a nap. And is about to take me out to The Melting Pot for dinner. Because really, if there’s ever a good time to go to The Melting Pot, it’s on a day you just ran a half marathon :)

My official finish time:

11:03 pace – Not too shabby. Ideally I would have finished a little faster, but it doesn’t really matter: My real goal was to run the entire thing without walking, and I did that. If I had run any faster, I’m not sure I could have finished without walking. Hell, I was close to being unable to finish at a run as it was!

In fact, even at the pace I went, which was comfortable for me, I honestly don’t think I would have completed the entire race without walking if I didn’t have the support of Fast Willy C beside me. It was fabulous of him to run with me and keep me going, especially since I know he could have finished with a much better time if he had run on his own. I’m very grateful that he helped me reach my goal today!

And I’m thrilled that I did, in fact, reach my goal today. It was hard, but that’s what makes it feel like such a great accomplishment. Yay for me!