Monday, December 28, 2009

Running Supplies Shopping!

I picked these up today. Very snazzy, no?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Being the Procrastinator that I am...

...leads to a lot of dead air in between blog posts, LOL. (My friend Leann, by the way, was the one who nudged me into writing this entry, ahem).

Things have been fairly busy, especially because of Christmas, work and all of the usual suspects. I'm not busier than the average person, just do a pretty lame job at balancing work/life/personal interests. That said, however, I accomplished the goals that I'd set for 2009 (one of them running a half marathon - done as of December 6), so overall, I'm satisfied.

I'll write about the HM in the next entry. And despite my grinchiness during the holiday season, I realize I have plenty to be grateful for. And even though it isn't apparent to those who know me in real life, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Need for Speed!


Had a good time at Wednesday night's track workout, which was:
6x800m at 5K pace, 2 min. rest in between

I forgot to bring my Garmin with me. Instead, the coach timed my splits, and I got all circuits recorded, except for the fourth. Here they go:

4:02
3:53
3:53
Fifth split: Timed at 4:23, but the coach admitted she flubbed on the stopwatch, and said this split was probably closer to 4:00
4:01 for the last loop.

This is a PR of sorts, because the last time I did 800m repeats, they veered from 3:53 all the way up to 4:24, or something like that. I was fairly consistent this time around - a good sign!!!!

After track practice, I gave one of my friends some pumpkin-pecan bread. A lot of it, actually. :-) She was quite ace at polishing it off, too - it was gone in less than a day. However, I can't take complete credit for this production. My baking skills are rather iffy. Let's just say that without Williams-Sonoma, I wouldn't have pulled off this treat.

And my friend isn't the only one who can snarf down baked goods like there was no tomorrow, as evidenced by the above photo taken of me 2 weeks ago. That pumpkin turtle pie was worth it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Fall "Blahs"

I thought that with me living in Florida for at least a year that my usual bout with the autumn doldrums wouldn't happen. That's definitely not been the case. Maybe because October was such an exciting and action-packed month, November now seems a bit of a let-down. The things that usually make me feel all pumped aren't doing the trick. Running is increasingly becoming more difficult, and staying focused at work is a job in itself. I'm usually not a very social person to begin with, either, but I feel even more introspective than usual. There definitely has been a change in the seasons and in my internal clock, even though the temps in Palm Beach County firmly remain in the 80s, and the sun still shines brightly during the day.

Going back to numbers, I realized that I am now 5 weeks away from the Palm Beach Half-Marathon, and that we're 8 weeks away from the new year. *gulp* It's kind of scary to think that 2009 is now, really, on its way out.

I hope I can turn a corner and regain some of my momentum and motivation for HM training. But on the other hand, sometimes I think motivation is also a bit overrated. Motivation helps, but it is, at least for me, sometimes just not enough to get me out there and going. I prefer to sometimes do things on autopilot because all the motivational stuff leads to self-questioning, which then leads to me to... not doing anything. So maybe going with the flow and not feeling too enthused about things is just the way it'll be from here until December. I'll just stick with my training plan as best as I can, and that is that.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another Race Notch on the Belt

The Race: Wellington Horse Country 10-Miler

When: Sunday, Oct. 25, 7:15 AM

Where: Around a lot of horse stables, apparently. ;) If you couldn't see them, you could most certainly smell them...

The past couple of weeks have been eventful for me, on the personal and athletic fronts. I entered my first 10K race, and a great one at that (the Epcot Race for the Taste 10K). I became a godmother to my nephew, and saw my husband for 2 weeks while he returned from Iraq for R&R. So now I'm quite happy to say that I completed my first 10-mile race bright and early today.

It was a fun and great event... And it felt so incredibly slow at times, unfortunately. I felt OK from a cardio standpoint, but every time I tried to go beyond a 9-min mile pace, my legs felt like 2 lead weights. Overall, I felt quite heavy and uncoordinated today. But that's a feeling that will pass soon enough, and it'll happen in the natural scheme of things.

I had pumpkin pancakes afterward at the Original Pancake House, and never has breakfast been so good. Something about running for a considerable distance makes food taste a million times better.

Until the next race!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oh Crap!

So... I've been really awful in keeping my blog up to date. What can I say, I'm very good on loafing around that time-suck known as Facebook, and my various forums, but lax when it comes to my own log.

I haven't gone crazy with entering races, but I did a local one by me in July (the Dreher Park Dash 5K), and made it to Disney's Race for the Taste 10K last Sunday. I'm especially proud of my results on the last one - even laid up with a chest cold, I ran it in under an hour (chip time: 57:38; clock time: 59:35). It was teh awsum. Allow me to add that a Disney race experience is fabulous. They are so well-organized - we started at 7 AM right on the dot, as promised - but still incredibly fun. Fireworks kicked off the race, and even though the course snaked through Epcot and Hollywood Studios (probably the least magical areas of Disney - as fun as they are, they not the Magic Kingdom), it was still sprightly enough so that 6.2 miles seemed like a piece of cake.

Wish I could wax more about it, but on to more races. Next stop: the Wellington Horse Country 10 Miler on Oct. 26.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Visual Break


Peek a boo with an ornery cat.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Still Here!

Even though my mileage has gone down the toilet in the past 2 weeks, it's only a small blip on the radar screen, in the grand scheme of things. I'm still feeling confident about the half-marathon. Don't know if running it in 1:45 is doable at this point, but I'm still aiming for it.

On other fronts, I have some serious paperwork re-organization to do at home, and have to figure out where to pick up in terms of my training schedule. Even being off by 2 weeks just makes me feel so discombobulated.

The ear issue is still there, and I'm scheduling an appointment with an ENT specialist for later this week. I've had enough. I'm currently on a new round of meds, and I actually spent almost an hour last Thursday going through my prescriptions, and figuring out when to take each. Up until now, I had never taken so many medicines in one sitting in my life. It's mind-boggling to me, people. :P

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Meh"ness

That sums up my overall feeling the past week. Since the 4th of July I've had a clogged right ear, and finally went to the doctor's on Friday to have it checked out. (I'm one of those types who really tries to avoid going to any medical caretaker, but to no avail).

The diagnosis is an ear infection, and that explains why I haven't been feeling myself the past week. Initially I'd just chalked it up to monthly female issues, but there was indeed something else going on. Meh. My mileage this week consisted of 2 miles. Total shite.

So no long run tomorrow, and probably no exercise, period, for the next few days. And the world isn't going to end if I don't work out for a week. I have to keep that in perspective, because I do get paranoid about missing workouts - yes, even the ones due to illness. Funny how the Puritan work ethic gets in the way of rest and recovery.

Over and out.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm starting to fall behind in blogging here, so this is my little smack to myself to get back on the wagon. I'm still working with my running coach - diligently showing up to my Wednesday night sessions, and started making appearances at the group long-distance runs on early Sunday morning (as in, 6 AM early, and that's unfathomable for a night-owl such as myself). There are some very fun moments that occur during these training jaunts, like being told that I'm fast, even though in my mind I still move like a sloth. Or feeling exhilarated after an 8 mile run, and itching to cover more ground beyond that mark. But the rain and subsequent mosquitoes have put a temporary damper on that. I've been bitten 6 times in the last week by those f*$@!!&& bugs, so now I can't wear my beloved shorts. Bugger.

I'm thinking of running 10 miles this coming Sunday regardless. Maybe the solution to these bug woes is to find a pair of lightweight running pants. Also, a lightweight Hazmat suit, since I also just found out last night on the news that there may be rabid kittens in the neighborhood I go to for my Sunday runs.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Slow Goin'

I'm only in week 2 of the coach's half-marathon training program, and it already feels like I've been through the wringer repeatedly. I guess adjusting to a new schedule and routine is rougher than I thought it'd be (I started a new job this week, too). It doesn't help that I'm not, by nature, an energetic person. Actually, I'm a lot closer to a lazy sloth than a peppy kangaroo or speedy cheetah. Left to my own devices I'm sure I'd spend half of the day in bed, and the rest eating in front of the refrigerator. So getting myself going takes an unbearably long amount of time.

Thank goodness it is Saturday today - I get to putz around, relax, eat my red velvet cake, and all that jazz.

Oh, and while I'm here, I'm gonna post my wish list. In no particular order:

-Foam rollers would be really nice
-And so would a Garmin Forerunner
-A copy of Vegan with a Vengeance (I saw this in the bookstore months ago, and while I'd never be vegan, this is a funny cookbook.)
-And a copy of the Engine 2 Diet
-And another kettlebell, of course

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Updates & Whatnot

I finally caved in and got a new pair of running shoes yesterday. Quite happy to report that I got another pair of Sauconys (that brand and my feet seem to have a great relationship), and that I also got that plus a pair of socks for less than $90.

The new shoes

Anyways, my training the last few days have been difficult and slow-going, or at least it feels like it. I ran on Sunday morning, where it was already in the upper 80s by the time I got out of the house, and went slooooowwww. Yesterday was plyometrics and strength, which I covered at a local park. What seemed vaguely fun last Wednesday turned into an absolute chore last night, especially the squat jumps. I'm still feeling the "burn" from those, as they'd say.

And my running coach and I have figured out a time goal for my half-marathon: 1:45. It's doable, but it's also scary thinking about it. I really do want to run a much faster pace, however. I'll just have to buckle down and just do it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Speedwork Time!

Tonight was the first session with my running coach, and as I drove up to the park where it was held, I actually got a bit nervous. I hadn't done much running up hills in my thus-far-short running journey, and was pondering what would exactly happen at the meeting.

But I got there and was pleased to find out that things started with a 1.5 mile warm up run. OK - that's fine and manageable for me. I can handle it. Then the fun started with plyometrics! We bounded up and down on the grass, ran with butt kicks, knees up, skipped, hopped on one leg then the other, and then for the finale - squat jumps. *thud* I hate those. A LOT!!! I'll do 'em, but it doesn't mean I have to like them one bit!

The excitement, however, really ramped up with this circuit, which consisted of:

-Sprinting up a hill as fast as you can
-At the top, do 10 pushups
-Run/walk/jog to the bottom of the hill, then do 20 sit-ups

Repeat a minimum of 6 times, aim for optimum of 10 times.

I could only complete 7 circuits. And to my credit (because I'm all about giving myself credit), I did the full-on, military-style pushups for each installment. No on-the-knees ones for me. The sit-ups really did me in. I could barely lift myself by the last circuit. I also hate, hate, HATE, sit-ups. But I'm not feeling totally beat up, so things are going better than I'd anticipated.

The running coach commented that my form is good and efficient, but that I have to work on increasing my stride. Got it - the plyo better work its magic in this area, then.

Now I have a craving for cupcakes. Too bad I don't have any bake mix in the house to give into this!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Today's activity

Walk 10 minutes
Run 20 minutes
-Run pace: 9:30/minute

Soooo glad that I ran this morning, because the skies look ugly and stormy right now. Lightning is not a runner's friend.

While I'm glad and thankful that I pulled off a 9:30/mile pace this morning, still can't help but feel a teeny bit disappointed. I want to run a 9:00/mile pace again so badly!!!

Also forgot to update Thursday's running activity. I managed to meet up with my running club on Thursday evening, and do an additional 4 miles. It felt much better than that morning's run - much more relaxed, even though I was actually going at a faster pace. Go figure. I think it was because the sun was setting, I had Gatorade, and was conversing with people. Even though I didn't join the club to meet folks, it's true - it really boosts you to be around others. You feel motivated, and competitive.

Random observation of the day:
Anne Burrell and Guy Fieri resemble one another because of their hair. And Anne Burrell has a touch of the Rachel Ray presentation on her show, you know, where they both get all throaty and over-the-top at odd times ("Fresh basil!!! - YUM-O!!!!!!!!!!." And yeah, fresh basil's great, but it's not worthy of that level of enthusiasm, sheesh.)


Continuing on my Food Network theme, Tyler Florence has got to be the most boring food personality EVER. (For some reason, FN has been my morning TV viewing of choice the past week.) I can never remember what he's made on his shows, and I can't really recall him, period. Sometimes, it's better to be hated and disliked than to be considered a "whatshisface." At least you make your mark.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Today's run:
10:05/mile pace
2.33 miles

I actually intended to run 4 miles today, but it got cut short due to my lack of preparation. I didn't eat enough breakfast this morning, had too much coffee, and I felt it. It was not a "golden" feeling that I've had throughout certain runs. To be honest, I had to be my own cheerleader the whole time, and at the halfway point, I was too tired to continue. When I got back home, I was really, really sweaty - at least I worked it. ;)

Depending on how weather conditions are later i.e., no thunderstorms, I may go to my running meetup tonight. That'll definitely help to bump up my mileage this week.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

I made up my mind on the running coach thing, and I got her. I'll start working with her officially on June 10th - that's when our first speedwork session takes place. I'm so excited!

On other fronts, I have more decisions to make, specifically in the job area. I got an offer for a position a few moments ago, and am on the fence now about accepting it. Funny thing is, a few months ago, I would've accepted it without any hesitation and now, I'm not so sure. And I hate it when I'm unsure, because I'm usually so decisive about my life! It has to do with my personal life and things that I anticipate happening in the next 6 months, and I won't bore you with the details. Still, I'm going to have to have a few discussions with hubby about it.

My training today:

Ran 3.28 miles, 10:24/mile

However, I walked the first 5 minutes, jogged for another 5 minutes, then finally started to get into a groove afterward. I'm quite sure I was running faster than 10 minutes/mile (it sure felt like it in the heat), but I started timing myself at the warm-up, not at the onset of the actual run.

Tonight is bellydance class, too - can't wait! I'm gonna shimmy my heart out.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

This is What a Marathoner Looks Like

And it's an eclectic bunch, at least in this New York Times photo essay: Marathon Voices

I especially love the back-of-the-packer who got sponsorship. She raised very valid points - since she's slower and more likely to linger along stops during the NYC Marathon, she will draw more attention to the sponsors' names she has emblazoned on her clothing. Smart move.

Lots of good luck wishes go to Irene, who is running the San Diego Rock 'N' Roll Marathon tomorrow, May 31st. Last year, she had a broken hip, and in the 12 months since she's rehabbed herself back to marathon form. Amazing. And that shows you what the heart of a runner is made of: lots of determination and moxie.

Friday, May 29, 2009

TGIF

Haven't gotten yet to my workout today, but I am so relieved it's Friday. That means I get to put in a relatively "long" run tomorrow morning - well, 5 miles, since I don't want to suddenly ramp up my mileage again.

I've recently begun to ponder over whether or not to hire a running coach for my half-marathon. The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning towards "yes" as the answer. It would be 8 weeks of personal coaching, with supervised running sessions and a nutrition plan. Irene said that she wishes she had started out with a running coach, and my hubby thinks it's a worthwhile investment for myself. Anyone have any comments about the coaching?

Yesterday's run was B-R-U-T-A-L, by the way. I still haven't gotten used to Florida heat, and yesterday morning it was already blazin' in the 80s, with high humidity. I ran over a 12 min/mile pace, and my legs felt like lead. Somehow, I'll have to make the transition and just feel acclimated to running in the hot, hot, heat.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Updates on this 5/27/09

So in my next-to-last previous entry I mentioned I was flirting with the idea of taking a week-long break away from the kettlebells and all strength-related things. That was incredibly short-lived - actually, just a few minutes after posting that I decided to do my kb stuff anyhow. Go figure!

I''m very happy to report that I'm finally making progress on my kettlebell cleans. I did a few today, and didn't bang the front of my forearm like I normally do!! Thank you, Lauren Brooks, for showing me via YouTube how to properly load the kb's and clean 'em!

I also managed to overcome my fear of performing windmills with my 25-lb. kettlebell. I dunno why this kb size in particular freaks me out; in the midst of my slogging through New Rules of Lifting for Women last year, doing one-armed presses with a 25-lb. dumbbell was a piece of cake. I think it's the whole novelty of it, plus the fact that kettlebells really do feel different from a dumbbell. It's hard to explain, but it feels a little more awkward to hold them. Dumbbells, in comparison, seem more "symmetric" in feel.

Last night's bellydance class was terrific. We got to learn new choreography, this time, a folk dance Egyptian women perform to welcome home their fishermen husbands. It's very tongue-in-cheek and humorous, and a little bouncier than the moves we'd been doing for the last month or so.

Over and out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chugging Along

Today's run was cut short (again) due to the unpredictable rain that I've been seeing. I did put in a good 2 miles, though, so I'm not disappointed. Pace was 9:48/mile, but because I didn't warm up - I just launched right into things - it felt a lot faster than that. Whoa!

Anyway, I'm enjoying a nice cup of coffee as my post-run recovery treat now, plus water. I'm not feeling ravenous right now. But I'm sure that will kick in once I get to my bellydance class later tonight, of course.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On the Road Again

Yesterday's & Today's Recap 
5/24/09
Completed 4 miles:  warm-up walk of 5 minutes, jogged for 2  minutes, then launched into running pace for the rest
Time: 40:38
Avg. pace: 10:24

This run felt incredibly great, despite my lethargic state earlier in the day. Once I hit the pavement, it's as if my energy reactivated and propelled me. It wasn't hard to sustain a brisk pace after my warm-up.  Temporary breaks from something can really help you - I couldn't wait to get out and run fast, and it showed here. Wish most of my running sessions could feel like this!!! 

5/25/09
Feeling really lazy right now. I'm actually very tempted to take a break from strength and kettlebell stuff this week, and just run and walk (and do my bellydance class). We'll see - I'm a fickle person and this thought may not stick anyway. 

And since it's Memorial Day, I'll share with you the over-the-top tale of a ghostly Marine named Camouflage.  

 
Always remember the men and women who've fallen in service to our country, but especially on this day. 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rainy Saturdays and Bellydance

I wound up taking a day off from all exercise yesterday. I'd originally scheduled a 4-mile running session for the morning, but instead woke up to thunder and a downpour. So those plans were scratched, and I realized that I really oughta go sign up for that gym membership I'd been postponing since arriving in Florida last December! It would be nice to have access to treadmills once again, especially because rainy season 2009 has declared itself here in the Sunshine State in a long, drawn-out manner. 

Later in the afternoon, I went to see my sister-in-law perform in a dance recital that was organized by our bellydance instructor. She was already nervous from pre-performance jitters, but during our 15-minute drive to the community center where the recital was taking place, we saw a road-rage incident unfold at a stop light.  Both of the people involved were women, and the aggressor drove to the front of the other car and blocked it at the light, then got out to yell at the other driver. Somehow, the car that was boxed-in managed to get around to make a right at the light. The aggressor got back in her car, and sped off in hot pursuit of the other vehicle. And obviously, we called 911 about this.  

Lesson of the day: don't get road rage. It ain't worth it. 

Getting back to my original point, the bellydance recital was amazing. The performers ran the gamut in terms of ages (the youngest was a nine-year-old and her cousin) and shapes. My seven months pregnant sister-in-law was the second act in the show, and did wonderfully! I honestly couldn't see her nervousness.  

Her choreography maximed use of the veil. Not only was it a practical move - it made it more low-impact while pumping up the dramatic - but it perfectly brought out the birth and female empowerment symbolism our instructor had so wanted to emphasize. My sister-in-law began the performance almost completely covered, and then, with the thump of a drumbeat, she swiftly threw off the veil and emerged with her hennaed, pregnant belly. It was poignant and wonderful to watch. 

The rest of the show was compelling, and I only wish more people had seen it, too. While bellydance is a sensual and exotic art,  it's also one that can only be performed publicly by women. That gives it the power, and reminds everyone that there are certain mysteries that only women have knowledge of, and of bonds that only women can share. Male choreographers are active in the bellydance world. However, they remain firmly behind-the-scenes, and the women are always center stage. 

After the show, the family all trooped over to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate.  My sister-in-law was relieved to have that out of the way, and I was simply hungry! And I must say, my needs in life are pretty simple: a good slice of cheesecake with fresh strawberries makes me such a happy camper. 

Over and out. 



 

Friday, May 22, 2009

Playtime with the Kettlebells


Today was a date with the kettlebells, and I knocked my workout early enough this morning to feel relieved.  I actually wasn't looking forward to it at all - the routine was all high-reps of squats, windmills and farmers walks - but I got it out of the way and felt better knowing that I ended the high-rep phase of this workout program. Hooray for conclusions! 

I'm still working on kettlebell form and it still surprises me how hard moves like the clean and snatch are. They look so deceptively simple, but I still get the tell-tale marks of a KB newbie, i.e., brusing near my wrists. Even the  swing, which I'm usually pretty good at because of my lower-body power, can be a real challenge some days for me to slog through. 

That said, I'm really digging the KB's. I like the fact that they're still a mystery to me, and their versatility. I'm not a big fan of cardio (an odd thing coming from a runner, I know), but doing a cardio routine with the kettlebells is actually... fun! And allow me to make a DVD recommendation, and say that the Kettlebell Goddess workout is a good place to start if you are a femme. 

Above is a pic of my beloved 8 kg kettlebell. I'm slowly working my way up to the 35-lb. RKC KB.

Some Thoughts for Today, 5/22

1.) Am I the only one who doesn't follow American Idol, and could not even care a penny's worth of who is the most recent winner? 

2.) I actually like the rain... Well, sometimes. It's been raining off and on in Florida, and it's been quite nice at times. There's a stillness to things that happens when it pours. 

3.) I've become the slowest reader in the last couple of years. I haven't made it past page 3 of Caleb Carr's Angel of Darkness, and that was about 2 weeks ago already. 

I promise to go back to talking about running and my training for the next entry. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So... why did I even bother doing this?

Let me introduce myself. I'm 31, originally from New York City, and a novice at running and anything fitness-related. I actually started to get into shape the winter of 2006 - that's when I was depressed enough with my skinny-fat figure to haul myself to the nearest gym, and met with a trainer. Looking back it seems very quaint and silly (my plan was very much grounded in those circuit machines and the elliptical), but it was the first official step I'd taken to carving a real physique, not to mention a healthier outlook. In approximately 5 months, I whittled down my body fat percentage from a whopping 34% to 25%. Nowadays, I estimate I'm somewhere in the 20%-22% range.

So just two and a half years later, I'm still muddling my way through this fitness thing. I'll freely admit don't know much more than when I initially started. There's also a lot of white noise in the physical fitness sphere, so can be frustrating figuring out which protocols to follow, what foods and supplements to take, blah, blah, blah. 

My most recent endeavor has been to start training for a half-marathon. I am entering the Half Marathon of the Palm Beaches in December, and in the meantime plan on participating various 5Ks to get into the race mindset. My ultimate grand ambition is to run a full-on marathon, and a dream I harbor is to be in the New York City ING Marathon. This will be my chronicle of the highs and lows of HM training, and of generally trying to stay in shape.