January…is DONE

Wow, where did time go? I guess time pass really fast when you’re having fun (or really busy). On the very last day of January, I looked over the workout spreadsheet that I’ve been keeping. I’m happy to report that I’ve ran 15 out of the 31 days!! And combined with yoga (and a couple other gym sessions), I’ve worked out a total of 22 days in January!! I think that’s the most active month I’ve ever had! Anyways, I’m really excited to make this change in my life 😀

As I head into February, things are gonna get hectic at work. But hopefully the good habits that I’ve built in January will help me push through the days when it seems easier to not workout (and take the wasy way out). Looking back, I think there are definitely health benefits of working out constantly and being active  — I’ve consumed less caffeine in the past month and I am less sluggish in general. I can hardly remember any days in January where I suffered from the mid-afternoon dip in energy (but this could also be attributed to me getting 8 hours of sleep almost every night…)! My productivity at work has gone up and I’m overall, a happier person!

I’m excited to see what February brings! Oh, and I’m running my first half-marathon of the year is less than a week! Wish me luck!!

 

Where did time go??!

How did I come to the 21st of Jan?? Wow, this year has been going by really fast. Ok, let’s recap a little. Last week was a painful one for me and I mean this literally. So on Monday (I think), I decided to go running in the morning but I didn’t really think about the time and ended up taking a route near the local highschool right before first bell. Needless to say, the traffic was absolutely nuts and while I tried to avoid being hit by cars, I didn’t look at where I was going and tripped very badly on the uneven pavement. It wasn’t pretty since I managed to take the skin off my left knee and allowed my phone to break my fall (ugh). And then I went home for the weekend…suffered from a bad bout of Ethiopian food, dehydration while I was on the Incline (see this explanation), and banged up my OTHER knee (no skin lost though) in the process. So, that definitely wasn’t the best week for me. But here’s what I learned from it:

1. Running without music can also be kind of nice. Since I had smashed my phone, I thought it would be a good idea to go without it for a short while. At one point last week, I took the usual ocean-side trail but sans headphones. I never knew how many sounds of nature I could enjoy! It was amazing to hear the ocean crashing, the call of seagulls, and the rustle of little creatures scurrying through the low vegetation on the bluffs. I might try to run without my phone more often when I’m on this trail. It was actually very relaxing.

2. When you fall, you get up and keep going. Believe it or not, I’ve never fallen while running before. I think the initial shock (and embarrassment) was more acute than the pain on my knee and other parts of me. I can still see the bruise, even a week later, but the swelling has gone down. It was very uncomfortable wearing pants last week though. But despite it all, I realized that I didn’t want to stop running…in fact, it made me want to run more; it made me want to go on my favorite trail and smell the salty sea air.

In other news, I signed up for a half that’s happening in three weeks!! Yeeep!! A friend and I have been talking about running together and we finally made plans! I know it’s kind of crazy and little unexpected (so once again, I’ll most likely be undertrained) but I’ve been working out pretty regularly again since mid-December so I think I could become prepared by the time the race rolls around. We shall see though. I care more about the journey anyways 🙂

Adjustments

One of the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in the past couple years of my life is the art of being “flexible.” This was a winning trait to have, especially if one is married to a military man 🙂 Now I also have to be flexible in my road to fitness in 2014. After a couple days back at work, I’ve realized that my schedule makes it REALLY difficult to accomodate the workout schedule I had originally envisioned for myself. This doesn’t mean that I won’t workout but that I should reconfigure the schedule. I’m still keepng with the yoga and running (yin & yang) theme but just with a different schedule. Here’s what’s new:

Mon: 6am Yoga

Tues: REST

Wed: 6am Yoga; Run

Thurs: Run

Fri: 6am Yoga; Run

Sat: Run

Sun: Run

Since my goal is to train for a marathon, running 5 times a week is important. I might consider adding a yoga day on the weekends after I’ve mastered this schedule. As you can probably tell, my week is loaded in the beginning of the week – Tuesday is especially hectic :/ I love the idea of the 6am yoga (and I love the energy of the class I went to this week) so that’s what I’m going to stick to.

Will this schedule change again? Maybe. But at least, it’s currently tailored a little better to what my week looks like for the next 3 months or so and I’ll have a better chance of succeeding in my fitness plan! Alright, back to work.

It’s a new year!

This will have to be a short post because there’s lots going on. But I’m happy to report that I’m making decent progress in my training. I’ve been able to run 4-5 times a week in the last two weeks with an additional of 1-2 days of yoga. Now that I’m back at school, I’ll need a period to readjust but I’m hoping to hang on to a similar schedule.

I was able to go to yoga today (at a new studio) and it felt great. It’s always harder to get started but once you get going, it gets more habitual (easier) and much easier to stick to a workout regimen.

Here’s an example of my progress from before the new year:

12/23/2013 3.2 miles
12/24/2013 3.1 miles and yoga
12/26/2013 3.1 miles
12/27/2013 4.2 miles
12/28/2013 the Incline!!!
12/29/2013 x

Fitness Progress

Wow, I can’t believe this year is almost over!! This end-of-year period is usually pretty bad for me in terms of what I’m eating and how active I am. (Un)Fortunately, I decided not to head home this year for the holidays, so I don’t get to enjoy all the rich and delicious food that my family prepares during this time of the year. Although, I’ve been having more cookies than usual (those holiday cookie exchanges!!), I’ve also been able to run and go to yoga.

I know that I’m trying to return to an good fitness routine. Although I’m not 100% at where I would like to be, I’m doing much better compared to where I was only a couple weeks ago. This last week, I was able to run about 3 times and practiced yoga on 2 different days. I think I’ve underestimated the time my body needs to reacclimate itself to working out regularly again. But as long as I keep working on my fitness goals, I will keep improving!

I’m going to keep working on myself and I can’t wait to hit my stride again 🙂 Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Garden of the Gods 10 Miler Race Recap

I did it!! I finished this race!! I was waaaaay slower than my PR and finishing at 2:09…but I’m done 🙂

Pre-Race: Honestly, I’ve been pretty relaxed in terms of my prep for this race. I want to challenge myself but I want to do it on my own term. In the training department, I had a schedule to follow but I wasn’t very good at sticking with it during certain weeks. I had several great practice runs (and it forced me to work on hills) and overall, I became a lot closer with my running friend, B (added bonus). Although I had everything planned out, the two weeks leading up to the race was just absolutely nuts in terms of “life.” Two days before the race, I managed to squeeze in some time and picked up my bib at a local running store. This race also marked the first time that I drove myself to a race, ran it, and then drove myself home (my husband usually drives me and I will force him to cheer me on). I’m usually very excited by the prospect of running a race so I always do a little outfit planning the night before (mostly in anticipation of the weather). This time, however, I just sort of winged it the morning of the race.

The Course: They weren’t kidding when they said HILLS on the course. This is the most challenging course I have ever run on. The hills were frequent, some very large, and the altitude was an added bonus. I had decided beforehand that I was going to run/walk the course mainly to deal with the frequent uphills. I also need to make sure that I don’t push myself too hard because I had “other” things to do in the days following the race (I will go into this later). Despite that this is not an easy course, it was BEAUTIFUL. I had my phone with me and managed to snap several pictures on my run (yes, I wasn’t there to win the race). The view was simply amazing!! I hope I will have the opportunity to run this race again next year and with more prep, maybe I will beat my time from this year.

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Afterthought: It’s amazing for me to think that I only ran my first race (ever) Spring 2012. That was only a little over a year ago! A year later, I have two 10 mile races, one half marathon, and several 5Ks under my belt. I love this feeling of growth! I love that I’ve found something that I truly enjoy in the midst of all that goes on in our live (career, bills, relationships, marriage…you name it)! It’s an awesome knowledge that I can continue to challenge myself physically and mentally through my runs. Running will always be my sanctuary. I’m leaving for California on a short work-related trip starting tomorrow. This time, I won’t be brining my running kicks with me because my legs will need a little time to recover. I’m already thinking about my next race though – what distance and what location? I have several in mind, including the Santa Barbara Half, but I’m definitely on the look out for others.

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B and I post race!

It was indeed happy running!

Happy National Running Day!

I have no photos for you all today, but I would like to share something I read this morning:

Running…it’s everyone’s sport. Whether you’re fast, slow, a marathoner, or leisurely one-mile jogger, you’re a runner.
And the benefits don’t extend solely to the elite. Each time you lace up your sneakers you’re making a commitment to your health. And each time you start your stride you’re opening your mind to a world free of the stress we encounter each and every day. And those who have crossed the finish line of any length race know the feeling of accomplishment that washes over you — and know it can’t be replaced.

— Tara (Charity Miles)

Today is National Running Day and I celebrated by going on a run (of course!). When I was with my friend today, she told me about her aborted attempt to do the Couch to 10K program despite the fact that she seems to have an innate running abilities (running a 8 minute/mile on her first try – I am beyond jealous). This and the quote really reminded me what it means to run and be a runner – while I have a lot of goals and dreams about running, I still have to remember to take one day (one run) at a time. My goals can only be realized if I continue to put one foot in front of the other.

Running for life!

GOG 10 Miler Week 8 Update

Holy moly…the race is this week!!! I don’t feel ready at all!

So last week has been OK in training, although I never got around to the super long run I had planned on Sunday. So I’ll have to just go with a longer/longish one tomorrow and then rest/short runs for the rest of the week. Also, I’m going to drink lots and lots and lots of water.

Fitness-wise, I’ve been feeling OK but I don’t think I’ve been managing my diet as well as I should 😦 I’ve been having a really sweet tooth lately and it doesn’t help that the spouse is always requesting my (famous) key-lime pie now it’s summer. How much pie can two relatively fit adults eat? You don’t want to know! Sometimes, life and fitness can be so frustrating, especially if you fall short of your goals. Sigh.

So what else is going on? Oh yes, the spouse is leaving home for work again. It’s always the WORST right before he leaves. Like right now, he’s packing his gear and whatever else he needs and you can just feel stress radiating from him. The energy around home is tense because we are both dealing (in our own way) with his departure. I know I should have pressed on with my schedule, but I allowed myself to take today off from working out (except now I’m regretful because I could have really used it). Tomorrow is the big day; we already have plans for his drop off…and then he’ll be on his way for work and I’ll be able to settle into my “lonely lady” routine. OK, I’m not really lonely during those times when he’s away (I actually fare really well on my own – it’s a part of my charm) but I get to hit the gym at night…and I really love that.

Anyways, I think I fared OK (but definitely not my best) in my training so this week is my last chance to figure things out for the race on Sunday. I guess, race and whatnot, it’s all a part of life. Hopefully I’ll have a satisfactory race report next Monday for all of you!

Happy Running!

GOG 10 Miler Week 7 Update

Oh my gosh, I’m late…on this blog post and life in general (haha). Let me quickly send out this update before I have to run off to the gym and officially start my day. So remember the soreness I had to endure at the end of week 6 due to overexerting myself during the “fun” and “pretend” PT test? Well, that baby lasted the whole damn week! I can’t say that my lower abs have returned to normal because I do feel some strain during the “upward dog” in yoga. Anyhow, this last week really wasn’t my best effort in training and fitness. First, the soreness (and SUNBURN) made it just absolutely bleh to do any kind of work out for a couple of days (although I did take some walks, tried to stretch…etc). Second, it was a whirlwind kind of week, both physically and emotionally (let me elaborate about that in a later post).

Despite the break from yoga and not doing as much running as I should, I did manage to squeeze in some speed work. I had mentioned that I’ve been trying to crank up my speed at the end part of my runs…and so far I’ve really enjoyed doing that. I was only able to run twice last week but both I felt were solid training sessions. And the rest of the time, I was just trying to recover physically with light cardio and some stretching.

Honestly, I’m not too happy about how I did last week but I really have to accept that it is what it is. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who can run 4-5 miles everyday and keep up with it for weeks and months on that same regimented schedule. Ugh. A friend once told me that sometimes, we just can’t allow life to get in the way of training…but I really also believe that for an amateur like myself, it is all about balance. I run because I want to be healthy. I also enjoy running very much so it’s my hobby. In a strange way, because it’s so enjoyable for me, I don’t want to feel trapped by all the constraints that could come along with training for races – I just want to do what I feel! I want every moment that I’m either out on a trail or  pounding the treadmill to be times that I enjoy in its totality. There are enough guilt and shame in our lives associate with being in a relationship (whether you’re a husband, wife, parent, girlfriend…etc) or in our jobs…I really don’t need my hobby to turn into something of a chore. As you can see, I am still trying to find that balance between how much do I make time for running and when do I just have to prioritize life and work. I may have to struggle with this one for a long while…but much like running, as long as you keep moving, you are getting somewhere.

Alrighty, more posts later this week about how life/work took over my last week but also some gorgeous photos from my short visit to the Rocky Mountains National Park!