Sunday, October 31, 2010

WDW Half Marathon Training: Week Four - 5 Miles!

Week four of my half marathon training went well.  It was pretty much the same as last week, except I got to run five miles Saturday (yeah, five miles - I still can't believe it!).  Actually my week was almost exactly like last week, same running times, same cross-training activities.  

I had a few weird pains this week during both of my weekday runs.  Monday, near the end of the run, my left shin felt quite sore.  That has never happened to me before.  I slowed down my pace a bit and paid special attention to my running form.  I also had a long stretch session, where I even tried a foam roller for the first time.  Ow!  Seriously, but my shin has been fine since.  I have also had some strange low back pain.  I am trying to be aware of my posture and have been doing lots of back stretches to help.  During the Thursday run it began to hurt a bit, but wasn't anything super painful.  The pain seems to have decreased a bit, but I am going to continue to strengthen and stretch my back to make sure I don't feel that pain again.  
The cross training this week was the same as last - multi-task workout and elliptical.  I really love the strength workout I discovered last week, so if you are interested in a easy way to add strength training you should check it out!  

The five miles Saturday was OK.  I was excited by the prospect of running that far.  I got up, ate half a Clif bar, drank a glass of water, and mapped out my route.  After quite a hot weather week it was finally cooling down a bit, which was nice for the run.  I grabbed my water bottle, with 1/2 G2 and 1/2 water, and my music and headed out.  The run started off really well.  I was feeling good the first half.  Then I ran through some places where the sun was beating down on me and it started to get a bit warm.  Around the halfway point it started to get tough.  During one of my walking breaks I drank some of my G2 and some newer music on my iPod began to play and if gave me that extra push to keep going.  I kept saying to myself that I could do this and how good I would feel when I finished a whole five miles!  I pushed through and finished strong.  My legs felt quite tired and sore, but after some stretching felt much better.  Stretching is definitely your friend!  
5 Miles Complete! :)

Next weekend I have another five miles on the schedule, but I think it will be a bit easier than this weeks.  My mom, step-dad, and I are all running the RUNNONA 5K Saturday morning.  I am excited, because I have heard that it is a good race!  I am going to split up the miles for next week by running the 3.1 at the race and the remaining 2 when I get home.

How do you deal with injuries or pains during workouts?  Do you have a mantra, or something you say to yourself when running?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

WDW Half Marathon Training: Week Three - Cross Training

This week the training plan was a little different - here is what it looked like:
Monday: 40 mins r3/w2
Tuesday: 30 mins cross train
Wednesday: REST
Thursday: 40 mins r3/w2
Friday: 30 mins cross train
Saturday: 4 miles r3/w2
Sunday: REST

I didn't realize that my two runs in the week were increased by five minutes until I looked at my plan Monday before heading out to the gym.  It really wasn't a big deal - the extra five minutes was good!  

Marathoning for Mortals (the book I got my training plan from) emphasizes the importance of cross-training when training.  It allows you to get stronger and fitter because you get to build the muscles that running doesn't.  Plus you can discover new activities that you might enjoy.  These are the top five reasons to cross-train that are mentioned in the book.  
  • Improves running/walking performance. 
  • Improves recovery.
  • Increases overall fitness.
  • Reduces risk of injury.
  • Makes you happy.

Tuesday for cross training I tried something new.  I was checking out one of my favorite blogs, Your Nutritionista, and noticed her recent post about a How I Met Your Mother Workout.  I am a big HIMYM fan and had to read about the workout.  The gist is that you do a short, intense workout for about 20 minutes.  You do one exercise for one minute and then switch to another and another for every minute after.  It sounded like a really good strength workout, which I have been looking for, and since I didn't really feel like going for a bike ride to cross train, I made up my own little version of the workout.  Since I am supposed to cross train for 3o minutes I wrote down 15 different exercises to do and just did them twice.  I had just watched HIMYM the night before so I decided to watch another show I had DVR'd.  It was a fabulous workout!  I loved it!  It was an intense, circuit workout and I got to watch some TV while doing it.  I am going to add it to my routine and probably make it my Tuesday cross training workout.  
These are the 15 moves I did, but you can always use your own.  I also had a quick 5 minute warm-up and cool down. (Sorry if I don't have the technical names for these moves right, I am not a certified trainer or anything, these are just moves I have done in group fitness classes and on exercise DVDs.)
  1. alternating lunges with hand weights
  2. bicep curls
  3. high knees
  4. front and lateral raises
  5. squats with hand weights
  6. skaters
  7. push-ups
  8. weights on ground @ feet, squat to pick up with opposite hand and raise above head
  9. plank
  10. squat and box
  11. tricep extension
  12. dumbbell flys
  13. butt kicks
  14. camel stretch
  15. crunches
  16. Repeat 
Wednesday's rest day was much appreciated by my body.  I was quite sore, but in a good way, from the circuit workout the day before.  Thursday's run was good as well,  My muscles were still a bit sore, but not too bad that I couldn't run.  
Friday I switched it up again for the cross training.  I decided not to do the circuit again before my long run, so I just did 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.  I am not a huge elliptical fan, but we happen to have one in the house so I stayed in and caught up on some Oprah.  I was surprised at how sweaty I got, but it was a good workout.

The long run Saturday felt really good; I kept a steady pace throughout.  I got up early, ate a blueberry crisp Clif bar, and headed out for my run with a bottle of G2 Gatorade and water.  I had to run four miles again, but I decided to map a different route and I have to say I liked this one much better.  It was not too hot and part of my path was shaded which was nice.   I think the Clif bar was a good pre-run snack; it didn't mess up my stomach and gave me a good boost of energy for the run.  After last week and not having enough to drink throughout the run I decided to carry a water bottle.  This was a bit of pain.  I also put too much G2 in the bottle - it was a bit sweet and needed more water to dilute it.  I finished the run two minutes earlier than last week too!  
I have 5 miles next week, wish me luck!

What are your favorite cross-training activites?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

WDW Half Marathon Training: Week Two - Switching Days

Another week of half marathon training complete!  This week's schedule was pretty similar to lasts.  
I ended up switching around a few of my workout days so I rested Tuesday and Saturday instead of Wednesday and Sunday.  In Marathoning for Mortals they say if you miss a workout to just skip it and continue on with the schedule, but I had the time and room in my schedule to do the workouts.  I was feeling kind of ill Monday night and not much better Tuesday and decided to push my run to Wednesday.  I didn't want to work out feeling so icky and risk feeling worse.  Then this Saturday we had a community yard sale where we ran a cupcake stand featuring our delicious, gourmet cupcakes (I know I might be a bit biased, but our cupcakes are pretty fabulous and the sale went well!)  I had planned on doing my long run later in the afternoon, but my knees were feeling a bit sore and tight, so I pushed the run to Sunday.  It was a good plan.

My long run is actually the longest I have ever done before.  In fact, almost every long run in the rest of this half marathon training plan will be a personal distance record (PDR) for me!  I planned to get up around eight to eat and run, but I must have been tired because I slept until 9:30 AM and didn't run until 10:50 AM.  I mapped out a 4 mile loop using  It is a great site I just found that lets you map routes in your area.  It is really easy to use and the map is a satellite picture so you know exactly where you are going.   I filled up my water bottle with gatorade and water and finally headed out to run.  
4 Miles Done!
The weather was not too bad actually; it was a clear, sunny day.  It was a little warm but not super humid.  I wish I had more to drink during the run however.  The hand held bottle I used only holds about 8 oz and I was gone about 50 minutes.  For this run I used a watch that kept track of my intervals for me so I didn't have to constantly look at my time on my iPod Touch, which was sooo much better.  I also borrowed my mom's iFitness belt which has two, water resistant, zip pockets.  It was fabulous!  I stuck my iPod in there and the belt didn't bother me at all - no bouncing or adjusting half way through the run.  
The run was slow and steady, just like the plan told me it should be.  Running the extra mile wasn't that much different than my other runs.  I mean, it was longer, but I wasn't super exhausted.  It felt good!  After I finished I had a good stretch session and nice glass of chocolate milk.   
And I am on to week three! 

What do you think about switching days and missing days in your workout routine?  Do you make-up the workout or just miss the day and continue with the plan? 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Streusel Topping

Last night I tweeted about how good the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins I was baking smelled.  Since seeing this recipe online last week I have been wanting to make them.  Pumpkin and cream cheese frosting mixed in one - how can that be bad?  This recipe proves that it can't.  No, these are not low-fat or sugar free or anything, they are just plain good!  You can't deprive yourself of the good stuff because that is no way to live life.  These muffins have fall written all over them!
MMM!  Look at that yummy filling!
If you don't know about Annie's Eats you should.  I check her site out daily to see what amazing food she is making.  We have made several of her recipes at our house and love them all.  
The Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins I made were featured on her website last week.  The recipe isn't too hard.  I just made half of the recipe because we didn't need 24 muffins sitting around.  I made the filling first and then let it freeze for two hours. Then I made the cake and streusel topping before filling the pans and baking for 20 minutes.  
So if you are looking for a delicious fall treat - check out the recipe here and enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

WDW Half Marathon Training: Week One

I mentioned last week in the monthly goals post that I have just started training for the Disney World Half Marathon in January.  This is the first post in a blog series I am going to have during my training for the race.

This was kind of big decision to finally make.  My mom, has become quite a runner herself over the past two years and last year she ran this half marathon.  I am still relatively new to the blog world, but bloggers and my mom have inspired me to really begin running and do a half marathon.  I have read tons of posts about people's running stories and it made me finally realize that I could do this.  I finally committed to actually doing the race by registering for it just two weeks ago.  It will be on Saturday, January 8 at 5:40am.  

I have always been in awe of runners and wished that I could run like that.  I remember dreading PE class in middle school because we had to run the dreaded mile.  It was like some kind of punishment.  I was usually always the last one to finish and I felt like such a loser.  The rest of the class would cheer me on and stuff, but that mile was hard and uncomfortable.  Not that people didn't already realize I was fat and out of shape, but this really proved it. 
I remember wishing I could run well and enjoy doing so.  I sometimes had, and still have, dreams about running fast in a big, green field and feeling so happy.  Those dreams made me want to run, but when I tried my body failed me.  All of that is to say I always wished I could be a runner.  Nothing changed for several years, I lost some weight and gained it back, until I finally had a kind of "aha!" moment or "tipping point" about two years ago.  That is when I decided that I was going to change my life, lose weight, get healthy, feel good, and do it for myself.  At the beginning of 2010 I decided that I would try running and found a simple run/walk plan that would gradually get me to run 30 minutes straight.  I got about halfway through, got caught up in finishing college, and kind of got off track.  I didn't stop completely, but I didn't add anymore minutes to my run time.  Summer came and I discovered tons of new blogs.  There were so many stories of people who lost weight, made healthy changes, were happy, and loved to run.  Reading those stories was the final kick in pants I needed to fully commit to running.  I have run two 5Ks since and really love running now.  I am not a super fast runner, but I enjoy doing it and how great it makes me feel.

My mom, who is actually training for her first marathon that same weekend, heard about the book Marathoning for Mortals by John "The Penguin" Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield.  She kept talking about how much information was in it and that she thought I could do a half marathon if I trained for it.  I read the book, which really is fabulous, and decided I would do a half marathon.  The book has four different training plans for both a full and half marathon.  After honestly answering the questions provided I decided that the run/walk training plan would be best for me because I am still a novice runner.  It is a 14 week plan that has me running three days a week, one which is a long run, two days of cross training, and two rest days.  The authors say that if you follow the plan you will be prepared to complete the half marathon.  
The book is easy and interesting to read.  It is divided into five sections: Getting Started, Training, The Toolbox, Game Face, and finally the Training Plans.  The authors explain that anyone can do a marathon if they take the time to train and have the right mindset.  It is a great, inspiring book, that you should definitely read if you are thinking about long distance running.

My first week of training looked like this:
Monday: 35 mins Run 3min Walk 2min
Tuesday: Cross Train 30 mins
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 35 mins R3/W2 & 4 Stride/Form Drills
Friday: Cross Train 30 mins
Saturday: 3 miles R3/W2
Sunday: Rest

With this plan they really emphasize the importance of training according to heart rate or perceived exertion.  My training runs are done between 60-75% of my maximum heart rate,  (in the book they explain how to figure all of this out), or between 6-7.5 perceived exertion on a scale of 1-10.  The whole point of a long distance training plan is to build your endurance, so my pace for training runs is slower than I am used to.  I borrowed a heart rate monitor for my first two runs so I could figure out what pace corresponds to the heart rate I need to be at.  My run pace for this week is about 11:25 and for walking is about 14:45.  These times should decrease as I train longer.

I have been working out in the afternoons after work this week.  Training is a bit different than how I previously worked out.  The first run this week was strange because my training pace was much slower than I am used to.  I did my weekday runs on the treadmill.  The stride drills on Thursday felt really good.  The point of the drills is to increase speed and keep good running form.  I increased the speed for 30 seconds and focused on having a quick footstrike.  For cross training this week I decided to bike.  Finding the motivation to cross train has been a bit of a challenge.  Of course after I get out and do the workout I am glad that I did and it ends up not being as bad as I thought.  For my long run Saturday I decided to run a loop, but my loop was more like 4 miles instead of three so I just had an extra long cool down walk at the end.

Next week looks about the same except my long run is 4 miles!  I am also going to do some yoga for one of my cross training days.  One week done and on to the next!

Have you trained for a half-marathon?  Any tips or advice to share?  What cross-training activities do you like? 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Race Recap: My First Tri - Lake Nona YMCA Family Triathlon

Today I finished my first triathlon!  The local YMCA held a mini-triathlon that was open to people of all ages.  They have been advertising it in the gym over the past month, so I have been thinking about doing it for awhile.  I have also had the opportunity to see my mom complete two sprint triathlons and she inspired me to do one myself.  I finally committed and payed my small registration fee to sign up.  There were three options for participating in the race: individual, relay, and family.  I chose to do it all by myself.  It was a mini-tri in that the distances were much smaller than a regular or even sprint triathlon.  The race consisted of 150 yard swim in the pool, a 3 mile bike ride, and 1 mile run.  The race started at 8 AM and the Y is just a few minutes away from our house, so I biked over to set up around 7:25.  The temperature is finally starting to go down so it was in the low 70s this morning, which is perfect race weather.  

Set up of Transition Area
There were only about 65 participants as it was a community race.  People of all ages were competing - kids under 10, lots of teenagers from the swim team, families, and some older people as well.  When I got there I went to sign-in and got my participant t-shirt (which I am wearing now as I write), bib number, and timing chip.  I was excited that the race was going to be timed so I could see how I did in each section and what my transitions were like. Then I got marked on my arms and legs with my race number and age.  My mom and step-dad arrived to cheer me on for the race as I moved my bike into the transition area and set up my shoes, clothes, towel, and hat.

Waiting to get in the water
Then I walked over to the pool, where the swim was going to be.  I put on my swim cap and goggles as the organizers gave us some instructions about how the race was going to go.  The route was to swim up one lane, cross under the ropes, and go down the next - like a serpentine pattern across six lanes.  The divisions for the race (males 15+, females 15+, males 10-14, females 10-14, males 10-, females 10-, relay teams, and families) was the order we took off into the pool, with about 15 seconds between each person. (I thought the division groups were quite large, considering I was in a group with 15 year olds and 40 year olds, but it was a small race.)  
The race began and before I knew it, it was my turn to jump in the pool!  I pushed off the wall and swam freestyle for the first lap and half.  It was a little crazy with all of the splashing water and kicking and passing, so I switched to breast stroke for a bit before going back to freestyle.  The swim was definitely challenging.  I can swim, but hadn’t really been training for this race (I think I went to the pool maybe three times this summer).  Swimming is tiring, but I got through in 4:38 mins.  

Arriving in transition area
Getting my shoes on

I hopped out of the pool took off my goggles and grabbed my glasses to run to the transition area.  I was kind of shaking as I tried to dry my feet off and get my shoes on.  My mom told me to sit down if I needed to, to put them on and I did which helped me calm down a bit.  I threw my shorts, shirt, knee braces, and helmet on as ran my bike out.  I almost forgot to take off my swim cap, but my step-dad reminded me and I threw it off.  This transition took about two minutes because I had so much stuff to do.  
I jumped on and was off for the three mile bike.  I borrowed my mom’s fancy road bike and I was glad I did.  My sneakers were a bit wet from the grass, so my feet slipped a few times on the pedals, but luckily no accidents.  It was a pretty smooth ride through the neighborhood.  I had a few sips of water and I actually ended up passing three people!  As I approached the dismount area and was getting off my bike I almost fell, but luckily I caught myself as I ran back to the transition area.  The ride took 15:46 mins.

Coming back from ride
Leaving for the run 

Sprinting to the finish!
I racked my bike, took off my helmet, grabbed my iPod, put on my hat and headed out to run.  My legs were feeling weird and running seemed very strange.  I started off pretty slow because of the bike legs.  I ran almost the whole way.  I walked for the gatorade and a bit in the beginning, but kept a slow pace throughout.  The route was a loop so as I was coming back I saw the finish line and started to sprint.  Everyone was cheering and clapping as I ran to the finish line and under the balloons!  I finished the mile in 13:28 which made my total time for the mini-triathlon 40:24.  

Post-race eating a yummy orange slice
I grabbed some fresh oranges and met up with my mom and step-dad.  The race had lots of fresh fruit, gatorade, subs, and chips and dip for everyone to enjoy.  I had some water and few tastes of the food.  The oranges were like the best oranges I have ever had, so I had quite a few slices. We cheered along the rest of the participants that were finishing and stayed for the awards ceremony.  I felt like I could run a bit more, so I jogged the way back home.  

Overall the race was really good and I had a great time!  It was the perfect distance for me to have my first triathlon experience.  The thought of doing a triathlon never even crossed my mind before.  I always thought of triathlons as something super athletes did, but as I have lost weight and exercised more, these kind of events seemed possible.  When you watch or compete in races you get to see everyday people participate.  They push themselves to change, to become stronger, to meet their potential, and actually do things they never thought possible.  I think that is pretty amazing and right now I feel excited by all of the possibilities! 
Soon after crossing the finish line I thought, "I would definitely do that again!"  

Have you ever done a triathlon or have you considered doing one?  What tips or stories do you have to share?
Hope you are having a great weekend! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

September Goals Wrap-Up and the Start of Something New

Well September is over; time to see how those monthly goals went!
  • Practice Yoga at least twice a week.  Yoga has been a great addition to my exercise routine.  It helps me relax, de-stress after work, and just makes me feel good after.  I did the Yoga Meltdown workout with Jillian Michaels a few times (it is a mix of yoga and strength training) and the YogaWorks Beginner workout from Exercise TV.  I have even added several yoga moves during my post-run cool down.  I am definitely keeping yoga in my schedule.
  • Get in bed by 10:30 PM on weeknights.  Success!  This was a good goal to work on, because I definitely needed the sleep.  I am kind of a night owl, so I was worried that it would be difficult.  In fact, I was pretty tired most nights that is wasn't a problem; I even went to bed a bit earlier some nights and even on the weekends.  It has changed my sleeping schedule a bit, but it has been good.
And now about October:  
  • Start half marathon training!  Yep, you read that right!  I am going to be training for the Disney Half Marathon that is in January.  This is something that I have been wanting to do and even more after my mom finished a half last year and reading tons of inspiring blogs.  I am going to be using a run/walk method for the race and have a training plan already scheduled.  My first training day is Monday!
So because I will be training for the next three months my goals will mostly be focused on this.  I will be starting a short blog series about my half marathon training to keep track of how it is all going that will begin next week with more details about what I am doing.

What are your goals for the month of October?  If you need some ideas or inspiration for some of your own check out my past monthly goals or this post.