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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ย — 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Fitness Plan/Writing Plan 2014!

Back in the day, I’m talking waaay back in college, I had a very good schedule. Classes really did take the majority of my time, but I also had a part-time job. During my senior year, I started taking pilates on Tues and Thurs evenings (and actually lost a lot of weight – we’re talking about 8-10 lbs and I’m an average sized but short 5’1″ lady). Lately, with a life happening here and there, I felt I was constantly pulled from my schedule. Now with the dust a little more settled, I’m starting to get back into a routine. This is the same routine that I should be able to stick to all the way to the middle part of next year:

*Fitness goals: Yoga & Marathon Training

For many years, I’ve tried this running in the morning thing – ugh but it hasn’t worked for me. I’m the most comfortable running in the late afternoon or in the evening. I’m not sure if there’s a physiological reason for this (since the psychological reason is not enough to convince me to force myself to run in the mornings) but I prefer to write in the mornings and running/cardio makes me…tired. Instead, I’ve done yoga pretty regularly in the mornings and have no problem with that. So I’m going to head back to the yoga studio for 4 times a week, in the early mornings (between Mon-Fri) but I might throw in a hot class on one of my running rest days.ย And of course, I’ll have to train to run and preferably do it in the afternoon and evenings. I think 5 days a week with 2 rest days is as much as I can do right now. So the fitness schedule will look something like this:

Monday: Running

Tuesday: Yoga + Running

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: Yoga + Running

Friday: Yoga + Running

Saturday: Rest and Rest

Sunday: Running

The running will look something like 3 days of running, rest, 2 days of running, and rest. And the yoga will be more concentrated with 4 days during the week. As I get more miles, I will start to mix in other types of cardio with the running.

*Writing Goal: In the short term, I’m planning to write every day for the remainder of December (my schedule is open enough for me to do it). In the long term, I’ll be setting word number goals instead once I have my teaching schedule pinned out come Jan 1.

LET’S DO THIS!!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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 ย 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!

GOG 10 Miler Week 6 Update

This was a fun week because I did decently (and felt great) on my training runs and then had to take consecutive rest dates because of an event I participated in over the weekend. So let me tell you a little about this…

The week started out kinda slow and I only had time to run for 20 mins at a time. When things get crazy, it’s easy to just say nope, maybe tomorrow. One of the things I’ve been working on in terms of my motivation for fitness is to resist that urge to procrastinate and hold off. Instead, I decided that it’s absolutely fine that I have a busy life and I sometimes can’t find time to work out…so I squeezed those run in. I figure if I run 1.5-2 miles on two separate days, I would have logged 3-4 miles after those sessions.ย That’s better than nothing.

Later in the week, my fitness level picked up and my schedule opened up. I was at the gym one day and ran the best feeling 4 miles in a while. I also went back to my heavily cushioned Nike Zoom Structure that day to give my legs/feet a break and it felt like running on a soft cloud. The ride on the belt wasย smooth ๐Ÿ™‚ By this point in the week, I probably had ran close to 10 miles. I felt pretty great because despite the shorter session earlier in the week, I ran hard! I cranked up the speed and I’ve also been pushing the last half mile of my runs…I read some where once that many athletes do that to teach their bodies to deal with stress when they are tired…good training…

Now here’s the fun part about this last week. On Saturday morning, I went to an event that my husband’s work put on for us spouses. This event was meant to give us spouses a taste of what training may be like for our soldiers. A lot of my friends were at this Saturday mornng event so I thought it’s gonna be absolutely fun and a ย no biggie. Well, it was a lot of fun but it was also way more physically demanding than I expected. One of the things we had to do is take a (modified version of a) fitness test – number of push-ups in a minute, number of sit-ups in 30 seconds, and a one mile run. I can do about 5 regular push-ups (now, consider that I couldn’t do ANY a year ago…it just never occurred to me to work on my upper-body strength before last year). I seriously pushed it and did 5 good push-ups and 15 other not-so-perfect ones. Then I did about 17 sit-ups (and of course, I hardly ever use my abs in such capacity). Finally, I went all out and sprinted a sub-8 minute mile (and I felt like puking the whole time I was running). It was hard, but it was fun! I’m happy that I went all out on the run…it feels good to pass people. My running buddy was also on this run and I barely passed her on the final stretch. We both ran a sub-8 minute mile – I think our training is working out (if only just a little bit).

After the fitness test, we had several other “stations” and events. Some were more physically demanding than the others. During one of the stations, we had to put on pro masks (gas masks) and walk/run to our next area. Yeah, that was exactly what I wanted to do right after I sprinted for a mile ๐Ÿ˜› It reminded me of my husband and when he used to do military competitions in college (there was one event where he had to run with full-gear and wearing his gas mask – you learn some breathing techniques from that). But the worst part of the day was probably low crawling and high crawling through the dirt (and loose gravel). Days later, I still have awful bruises from that…and A LOT of respect for our American soldiers who carry on despite the physical and mental demands of their jobs.

I had a great time at the event but I felt like crap the next morning. I was sunburned (hello high altitude UV rays!) and I felt as if ย a truck had ran over me. There were no part of my body that didn’t ached at least a little. I could barely move. So, it’s been no running for me for two days now although I did went on walks (through the mall) in hope that it would help muscle repair. A friend of mine once told me that I shouldn’t take ibuprofen because it hinders the healing process but I’m not sure if there’s any truth in that. I didn’t take any that day just because I was on an empty stomach and had to wait.

I’m finally feeling better and will probably get back to training tomorrow (did I also mentioned the weather is cold and rainy again??) Alas, there are really a lot of ups and downs in training…and we can feel so different from day to day. But all the more, each day, that we can go out and pound some pavement, is a day worth living for.

Happy Running!

Armed Forces Community 5K and Some Reflections on Running

My gosh, do you ever have one of those weeks when you just have no idea where time went?? That’s this week for me :/ Well, I want to get this blog post in before more time slips by – I don’t want to be in serious blogging debt. My original intentions was to post at least twice a week so I’m gonna stick to that!

Anyways, I have a couple of pictures from the 5K race I ran last Saturday. The spouse was my photographer…and he’s sweet for doing so. Having said that, I almost had a heart palpitation when I looked at my photos on the car ride home – my wonderful spouse had assumed that my dslr was on automatic setting and took all photos with no adjustments to the camera itself. Anyways, I had a bunch of over exposed photos that I attempted to salvage with an editing software ๐Ÿ˜‰

I really had a good time at this 5K. I wasn’t worried about my time and I wasn’t worried about my fitness level. Unlike the 5K run I did last September, I didn’t feel like the altitude was a big challenge and I ran my usual 10:30 min/mile without pushing myself. I know this is not a very fast time, and I would like to be at the 10:00 min/mile one day. But sometimes I do feel like running is about how you feel at a particular time in your life. I want to push harder but I also need to feel that I’m ready for speed work. I’m always in awe of professional or semi-professional runners – because I can only imagine the dedication, hardwork, and motivation one needs to put on hundreds of miles in preparation for a race. I have nothing but respect for these individuals.

One thing I’ve noticed recently in relation about my running is what I eat and how it affects my body. I love bananas and would often eat them for breakfast…but lately I’ve noticed that they are not very good foods for me to consume before running. In fact, it gives me really uncomfortable stomach cramps after I start moving ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Maybe I’ll just have to save them for post-runs. I think simple carbs with some protein is perhaps the winning combo for me. Another thing that I noticed is I can’t drink soda if I’m training because it also gives me gastro-intestinal issues ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Unfortunately, I do have some Coke Zero around my house (my husband packs one in his lunch) but I will have to avoid them if I am planning on running that day (just drink water, right?). I guess you are what you eat…and what you eat will have an affect on how you feel when you run/exercise…

And here are the pictures… ๐Ÿ™‚

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Approaching the finish line…

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I kinda love my shoes ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Woohoo!!