Posts from the ‘Exercise’ Category

A horse is a horse, of course…

Don’t laugh.

Okay, I know that I am so hilarious that me saying that is the equivalent of telling my dog to not be excited when I come home. But really, I mean it.

I’ve decided that if I manage to run the half-marathon I am going to reward myself.  Now this does not mean if I show up, start

Bret Michaels

and eventually finish.  This means: I run it, I’m happy with it. I don’t break any part of my body, or hurt anything, faint, vomit, poop myself or publicly humiliate myself in any way, shape or form. I manage to not piss off the man-friend so much that he leaves me there. AND that I get to take my picture again with the Rocky statue.  City-Mouse, we may need to make that a yearly tradition. Not that I’ve ever seen even a single Rocky movie.

This particular course has bands along the way, and Bret Micheal’s will be performing at the end, so it will also mean that I have to enjoy that too.

My reward:

 

Stetson Alexa Rae Red Boots

 

I think it’s perfectly logical.  I fell in love with these last weekend.  It still makes me sad that I don’t own them.  Grant you, they are sold out of my size on Zappos.com, but if i try hard and don’t care what I pay, I’ll find them. Really.  I could be running along Route 209 in Hurley and see a horse that clearly needs to be tamed, and I don’t own the proper footwear for such a task.  Honestly, I think it’s a safety hazard. Really.  What am I going to do if that happens?  OR if I suddenly decide I have rhythm[1], and need to take a line dancing class?  I seriously need to fill out this section of my shoe wardrobe.

Besides.

They are really pretty.  And I love the detail of the stitching, the precise shape of the toe, and the rich, demanding color of the leather itself. And I absolutely adore the shading on the sole of the boot (Is that called a sole?).  I know that I will walk all over them (there’s a lot of restraint in not making a Nancy Sinatra reference), but the shading will be there for the first few wearings, and I’ll know it.  It’ll make me smile to know that I even love the sole of these boots.

I love them. So I have to earn them.  Or if they aren’t around then, another pair that suits my needs.  Or slightly unhealthy shopping habits. Obsessions.  No, maybe needs.  There is that horse scenario.  Grant you, to tame a horse encountered on a run, I would first need to go home and change out of my running sneaks, and into the boots.  But the horse will wait.

 

[1] This is less likely than needing to tame a horse

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This one’s for The Ladies….

That is not to say that I forbid my men-friends to read it (I would never shun 50% of my readership!), just that you won’t really care.  And I welcome any of my men-friend runners to do a guest post on nipple chafing or supportive briefs.  Really.

But I’ll stick to what I know.

It’s day 3 of my half-marathon training, and I am mentally going strong.  But I noticed this morning on my “ass-crack-of-dawn” run that I was unbelievably winded.  I had been equally winded my previous run at the same trail (Monday) but since it was very warm, I attributed it to the heat.  This morning however, with the beautiful 67 degree temps, this was not quite right.  And then it hit me: I’ve had my period since Monday, and I bet that is contributing to my difficult runs.

I have suspected this before, and now that I am actually training for something that will be a strong challenge to my body, I decided it was time for research. More specifically, I want to see if there s supposed to be a pattern to the days where I feel I can run forever and the days that I feel I can’t bare run another step, and if it is predictable. Not surprisingly, it seems there is.

I found a  few great articles  (this one too) on this topic (please click on the links if you want to read them), but I want to point out that I think it’s very likely that every woman is going to have a different experience.  For example, I have been on the very same birth control for 12 years, so I have my menstrual cycle down to an easy-breezy science.  I know when I am getting it, I know that I will be mildly tired on the Wednesday of that week and I know that it will end Sunday night. I know I will not have bad cramps or spot bleeding after. (Men, stop making that face.  I told you this was for the ladies.)  For this reason, tracking will be easy for me. This month I will note every run I do and how I felt and then will pretty much know what my “cycles” are.  For other women, it probably changes every time, and you will need to track for at least 3-4 months to be able to predict.

Here’s what I think I’ve learned. During the parts of your cycle when you have low amounts of estrogen in your body (apx. days 3-15, day 1 being the day you get your period) you can expect high intensity runs (for example, Speed work and Hills) to have plenty of easy sources of fuel from your body, and you should have no problem with getting the burst of energy that you need to do so. After day 15, when you have higher levels of estrogen in your body, it’s not so easy. Your body changes its metabolism (where it favors metabolizing fat to muscle glycogen), and while you should have longer term sources of energy (so, a long slow run will go splendidly), you may not have the bursts of energy you may want for speed or higher intensity runs (muscle glycogen) readily available. Now that I have this knowledge, I have an idea. Clif bloks if needed. And now that I have put this all together, I feel armed to try to take on my period a little smarter. Or not. I mean, after all, I got all of this info from the INTERNET. Really, I won’t know anything until I try it out.  It could be bologna. Or maybe it’ll just be the mental kick in the ass I need.

Please note: I am not a doctor, nurse or anyone who knows anything about anything.  I am just reporting what I have noticed in myself and read in online sources.  Really I would love for other women to post their experiences.   So, other women runners, have you paid attention to your cycles? Have you noticed anything? Have any suggestions?

We now rejoin this blog, already in progress…

75 Degrees and endless Sun in sight.  I am loving this weather.

Weather is a weird subject these days. Things seem very volatile with earthquakes and tornadoes causing massive amounts of destruction and death in seemingly safe environments. Snow piled high enough in the Tri-State area to cause concern this winter, and the two weeks of endless rain we recently had were just plain awful. I am hoping we’re past the worst of the transitional weather and can welcome in a period of calm weather patterns for some time.

WTF? Whose blog was that?!?!

So, I just moved into a lovely new apartment in Kingston, NY. I threw out and gave away all my old junk, and am easily falling more and more in love with my new apartment every day. That’s my measure of knowing that I am on a good path, if every minute that I breathe I am happier in a situation. Last night was the first night that I decided not to be unpacking or cleaning or socializing and simply sat down on the couch and ate pizza and watched TV. It was a nice change of pace, to be comfortable doing nothing.

Of course, I did wake up at an ungodly hour to go for a morning 5 mile run, so…I guess it’s a good balance.

It’s probably a good time to put this blog back on track, and go back to talking about un-running. This summer’s running season will be spent training for my Half Marathon in September.  The week of June 27th starts the 12 week training program by my favorite anal retentive running trainer, Hal Higdon.  For now, I am maintaining 15-25 (depends on my schedule) mile weeks, as I have done through the winter, and have added in short biking sessions (3-7 miles), which seems to be helping my knees. I am also taking swimming lessons for cross training (read: Next year’s blogs will be about Triathlon training). But for now, the biking and swimming are just for fun and for weight loss. Oh, right. I will be training again, which means paying attention to optimum weights (which I NEVER achieve, but I am over it) etc.

I do, however, get to eat more carbs ; ) It’s a trade off.

She will be mine...

I’ve decided that my goal for the half will be three-fold. 1) Not to die. 2) To try desperately to have fun. 3) 2 hours, 50 mins. I used Runner’s World’s training calculators to pick a speed that I felt was both challenging and attainable. This will mark the first time that I run a race with a time goal in mind. We’ll see how it goes before I determine if it will be my last!

On a side note, Molly  is ending her long seasons of training and hitting the pavement for her first HIM (Half-Iron Man) on Sunday. This girl has untiring amounts of dedication and drive, though I am not sure that the word untiring should be used at all  when speaking of a Half IM. I get tired just thinking about it. I’m proud of you, Lady! And anxiously await pics of your smile as you cross the finish line ; )

From Sake Bombs to Matzoh Balls, and Everything in Between…

So much to blog and so little time.  Okay, top 5 memories from the last three weeks:

1) Sake bomb introduction.  “Hello there pitcher of beer and sake wine decanter.”  The best invention (and the host of the evening ) might be the all you can eat Sushi restaurant in Tribeca called Ashiya Sushi. I won’t lie, the sushi is good, but not wonderful, but don’t go there for the Sushi.  The secret is, this is one of the few all-you-can-eat sushi joints that BEER AND SAKE is INCLUDED. Take my lead and go with 20 of your closest friends and chase each piece of Sushi with a Sake Bomb!  For those who don’t know the recipe for a sake bomb, it is FANTASTIC.  You take a sake glass and fill’er up. Then, you fill a pint glass to 3/4 full.  Then, you carefully arrange the sake glass on a “bridge” of your chopsticks, which you lay on top of the glass.  Then, you smack the table, the sake cup falls into the Pint Glass, and you drink the whole thing.  Obviously, you need to be with the right group of people for this place AND you need to plan to be drunk, ’cause if you aren’t drunk, you’ll be the only one.  THAT is never fun. And, for another reco, follow up this experience by booking a private karaoke room at Duet 35  for you and your friends.  Both of these plans made for a very fun Asian-themed drunk-fest!

2) Went for 3 really good, longer training runs.  They were the first 5+ mile runs I had done since my knee started acting up, and they went quite well.  There’s nothing like a spring day long run with beautiful scenery to back it up. This makes me smile.

3) My bike came!  And she’s super pretty.  I cannot wait to hit the roads with Molly!  The man-friend put her together (with a little help from Kingston Cyclery) and now I am ready to hit the road!  While awaiting her arrival, I have been doing brick workouts at my gym using the treadmill and the exercise bike.  I gotta say, if you have never done that, it’s a fabulous experience in balance and determination the first few times you give that a go.  (A brick workout is a bike-ride following a run.) You have to balance your desire to step off the bike and go shower with your desire to NEVER MOVE YOUR LEGS AGAIN! They will feel like bricks, and you’ll contemplate spending the rest of your life standing still.  The first time I experienced this, I FORGOT that what I had just done was a brick workout. I was just biking following a run on the treadmill to help my knee issues.  I hoped off the bike following a three mile run and an 8 mile ride and…fell.  And laughed.  There’s always laughter.  I then remembered what this was (from hearing stories from others) and stretched.  Eventually I was able to walk again. It’s a good kind of pain though, and I am happy that I am now ready to take the act of biking out of the gym.  Open road, here I come!!  And I mean that quite likely literally too, so I bought a first aid kit and tools.

4) High-Fay-ave!  Have you seen the movie Borat?  I can’t lie, I am more than a little bit of a prankster.  On a whim one night, while laying in bed, I decided to tell the man-friend that Linus (my overly anxious chihuahua)  gives high fives. “But only if you request it of him using the accent from Borat.”  I demonstrated a few times, and then forgot.  It’s a little ridiculous to think that my dog responds to any word at all, let alone throwing in a language barrier. The truth is, Linus does give high fives, but only when he lies on his back, paws in the air, and you put your hand up for him, already kinda near his paw, and he has to only stretch a few inches.  I think it’s more of a protection mechanism.  It’s certainly nothing I have taught him, but I think it’s cute, so I’ve encouraged.  But you don’t have to say a word, and you certainly don’t need to use a Kazakstan-ian accent.  What language do they speak there anyway?!?  Regardless, I had forgotten about it until a few days later I hear the man-friend in the other room say to the doglet, “HIGH-Fayve” with an outstretched hand.  Tears fell.  Belly laughter.  Days worth of smiles for me.  It was great.

5) The Passover Sedar.  I went to two of them this year (which beats the previous years zero) and found that sometimes religion can be enjoyable.  I have nothing funny to say about this.  Just truth.

My apologies for the lack of recent blogging.  I’ve been traveling for work, and just downright exhausted.  But don’t worry, the bike is bound to cause ridiculousness (have I mentioned I’ve never ridden a bike with varying speeds??) , and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Good times, Good fun!

Post Races "Recovery" Drinks!

I can’t say that I really earned the tower of empty beer cans, or the mass quantities of good ole’ BBQ/Soul food from The Smoke Joint that were consumed following the NYC 13.1 run in Flushing Meadows park, this past weekend, but I sure had a good time at the day’s festivities.

Two new friends and I ran the 5K race part of the festival, which was very fun. I myself did it at a leisurely pace and enjoyed the sunny but cool run through the park.  There were tennis courts and soccer fields and the Queens Museum of Art. Marching bands played to cheer folks on, and passers-by smiled and clapped.  It was just an enjoyable time.

The man-friend and a few other running buddies did the half marathon, so they DID earn the beer and the BBQ.  And while, as you know, I am not a time competitive runner, ALL of my buddies BEAT the times they wanted to!!! My good friend Dan also came down to join in the camaraderie and assist with the good times.  It was the perfect race to kick off the running season and get me excited about running again.  Now I am STOKED about training for my half in September.

In other interesting news, I did “crack” and buy a road bike.  I did not, however, break the bank. I bought it from bikesdirect.com, and the man-friend wants to give-it-a-go at putting it together for me. So, it may ride backwards.  Or accelerate when I squeeze the brakes.  But sometimes love is about riding a bike backwards or without being able to stop to make your partner happy.

See?  Who says I am not a good girlfriend? Pfft.

A Runner with Runner’s Knee.

Next Saturday I am running a 5K race in NYC.

With a knee injury.

I hope.

Icing kneeI don’t hope that I have a knee injury, unfortunately, I took care of that quotient this week. I am hoping that I will be able to run it.  I’ll know later today, when I hit the pavement for the first time since my painful experience with Runner’s Knee.

As a person who lives in fear of knee or foot injuries, I was very freaked out when I finished my run last Tuesday and had a small knee ache which didn’t subside by the time I hopped out of my shower and into my car. A few hours later, after sharing dinner with friends, I stood up from the table and realized my knee ache had turned into a full-on painful experience.  Driving home was a bit of agony, and walking up my stairs was almost impossible. I went to bed hoping to wake up free of pain, and didn’t.  So I started an Advil and icing regimen, and began to do research online.  It didn’t take much effort at all to realize it was Runner’s Knee.

Runner’s World had a great article on Runner’s Knee, as did many other sources, and I feel adequately prepared to “run through” the issue, as long as today’s run goes as planned (I’m keeping it really small, just 3 miles, which is about 40% of my typical weekend runs these days).

D'oh!

Things I did wrong which lead me to this point:

Increased my mileage too far and too fast:  10% a week is apparently a good increase, for someone with Runner’s Knee issues. I went from 5 mile runs to 7 mile runs very abruptly a few weeks ago. Great for my self-esteem, apparently not-so-great for my new(ish) runner’s knees.

Speed work. I’ve always hated speed-work.  In this case, I was running as fast as I could for a short period of time, before returning to a slower speed for a bit until I recovered.  I am terrible at recovery, and therefore hate doing speed-work.  Because 5K is such a short distance, I wanted to do some speed-work before my race.  It wouldn’t have been so bad, ‘cept I also did,

Hills. The bane of my running existence.  I need to start running them more regularly. Unfortunately, my neighborhood is fairly hilly, so because I didn’t want to drive anywhere that day for a run, I did my speed-work on Hills. I get the Brainiac of the year award.

To be honest, none of the above were that bad. It was just too much, to fast of all three that compounded into, well, THIS.

The biggest mistake that I have done overall is that I have only been running, and have not widened my exercise repertoire to include any other activity.  One of the most likely causes of my issues is an extreme imbalance of my Quadriceps muscles to my Hamstring Muscles.

Trek Madone Women's Bicycle

NOT in my price range : (

Armed withthis information (from numerous sources on the internet) I loaded up on anti-inflammatory pills, iced the knee for a few days and took it a little bit easy until the pain was mostly gone.  Since then, I began a Quadracepts muscle routine, and have spent time at the gym using (brace yourself) a standing exercise bike. I am now on the market for a fairly inexpensive road bike, but will continue using the one at the gym until I manage to find a decent one in my price range.This was a seriously important lesson for me.

I was really devastated for a few moments when I felt as though there was a possibility that I would no longer be able to run to the extent that I have been.  Thoughts of weight gain, and anxiety flooded into my head and I was panicked that I wasn’t going to be able to use running to control either of these any longer.  I clearly need to expand my exercise horizons as it is no secret that running is one of the harder ones on your body—made worse by the fact that I am both a new runner and a woman.  There are more muscles in my body than running works, and I need to ensure that I am exercising all of them.

Now, I just have to figure out something to do with my arms. Would knitting count?

A challenge to all my readers.

I need to teach my blog to write itself.

I am, of course, a follower of other people’s blogs too, so I get it. My apologies to my loyal readers for my silence.  I’ll try to get 2 in this week. I’ll try.

So, running season is in full swing.  Due to my social nature and my vocalization of my running obsession, my FB inbox is full with weekend running events from now ‘til…my half marathon in September.  Yup, you heard me right.  My half marathon in September. I signed up for one. 13.1 miles of running. I’ll cry about it another time. Maybe during. Definitely during. But most importantly, I am saying this because I don’t want you to be sad if I don’t go to your running event.  Just know you are in good company, and I just can’t attend every one, and still have a life outside of running.

But, back to now.  It’s been warm enough to run outside, so I have accomplished two longer runs. Both 7 miles, both on the past two weekends. The first one was very encouraging.  I felt amazing.  Everything clicked, miles 3 to 6 felt unreal, and it was awesome.  I almost felt like a real runner.

A very slow real runner.

The second one was harder, but still encouraging.  I did experience an emotional crash an hour after the run that I can only imagine was a result of the adrenaline I required to do the run.  I was also battling a fever earlier that week so…the jury is out until my 7 ( or 8 ) miles this week as to what the cause of that was, or if I can expect that to happen again. I’ll keep you posted, and will talk about it more if it reoccurs, to hear if it happens to others.

It’s springtime so everyone should feel motivated to get out and pick up a healthy outdoor habit. A new one.  I’ve decided I want to challenge my readers. I don’t care if you are the most active person in the world already. I challenge you to pick up a new hobby this spring, even if it’s just for this spring. Hiking is a good one. Or biking.  For my new hobby,  I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a road bike, but they are very pricey. I am worried about spending a ton of dough on a bike, and then not having the skill level to bike with folks. So, if you are a newbie biker and would maybe want to ride with me, tell me, so it motivates me to buy one ; )  If not biking, I am going to pick up swimming.  Yes, you saw that right, I am 31 years old and don’t know how to swim.  I still wear those ridiculous arm band swimmies.  You know, in the bathtub. While I bathe. I drink lots of whiskey.  I might drown one night.

What new outdoor, active healthy hobbies are you going to pick up this spring?