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!

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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. 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 was smooth 🙂 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  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 😛 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  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!

GOG 10 Week 5 Update

My gosh, it’s Monday again…once again so pooped! Last week’s gotta be the best training week for me to date! I logged about 11 miles in 3 training runs, did yoga one day, and cardio on two others! I was pretty regular with going to the gym (one of the perks with the spouse being not home is I get to go to the gym in the evenings) 😀

One of my highlights from last week was I did a 5K on Saturday. It was a small local run and I wanted to do it. My husband had just returned home in the wee hours of that morning/night…but he was sweet enough to wake up and took me the event in the morning. It was a 5k trek around part of an airforce base. The weather was awesome (finally!!) and it feels good to go out and run first thing on a Saturday morning! Since the run was for our Armed Forces (and our surrounding community), I thought it was especially touching that my running route took me through the airfield and the terminal where our soldiers deploy out of and come home to. Looking at the C130s sitting on the tarmac as I run by just brings a tear to my eyes!

Another thing I want to mention is I finally did some hill trainings last week! Boy, was it hard! This is really something I have to work on :/ There’re a bunch of smaller hills on this trail near my house but there’s also this one very big (and long) hill – it’s one of those where your car would shift gears (if you drive an automatic like me) trying to get the top. So far, I’ve not been able to take that hill in one run. I’ve always had to stop mid-way and walk up the rest of it (grrrr). My goal is to be able to run up that hill without walking or feeling like I will pass out before my training is finished for this race.

It’s a gonna have to be a shorter post today because I’m so tired! Mondays are just kinda crazy for me, especially today, since I had to prep and teach/brief a military formals class this morning. Hope my training continues nicely this week…

Happy Running!!

GOG 10 Week 4 Update

Oh my gosh, I’m so tired! My eyelids are literally drooping as I type… 🙂

So this last week hasn’t been too bad…I guess I’m improving and I can start to feel my running groove coming back!! Last week, I got the new Inov8 shoes and I’ve been trying them out. The first time I ran on them, I only went for 2 miles but oh boy, were my calves sore! Last week was kind of a frantic week and my schedule was all mixed up because the spouse was in the field for 3 days and then immediately left for a week-long work-related trip. During the week, I ran between 2-3 miles to get used to the new shoes. After a day or two of rest coupled with yoga, I finally decided I was gonna do my longer run on the weekend in the Inov 8s! I gotta say those were the best 5 miles I’ve done in a long while! My legs were a little tired when I was done but not particularly sore on the calves and my feet felt great! No strange soreness on the ankles or anything…of course, I’ve also been more conscientious of my running form and these shoes do force me to pay more attention. Anyways, I could use a couple more  overall miles but I feel a lot more motivated about running! That’s an awesome feeling, especially at about 1 month out from the race!

In other training news, I found out that my yoga studio is adding additional 6am yoga classes! The studio used to only offer 6am classes on Tues and Thurs but starting next week, there’ll also be classes on Mon, Wed, and Fri. I’m really excited and my inclination is to dive into it…but I really have a lot going on this month so we’ll see if I can make it to all these extra yoga classes.

I’m really looking forward to my long run this weekend. I’m planning to do 6 miles. Last week, my friend B and I couldn’t coordinate to go on our training run together at the GoG because her husband is also away from home (in fact, on the same work-related trip as my hubby). Hopefully we can get together this week to run. She told me about the crazy hills on the race route that she checked out last week and my heart is just full of trepidition about it…but I guess there’s no other way to deal with it but to practice, practice, practice!

Besides all the fun stuff with my running motivation on an upswing, I also realized something last week on the treadmill. One of the lessons of running is acceptance. I saw this great quote on the internet that sums up my revelation pretty well:

There are two primary choices in life – to accept conditions as they exist or accept responsibility for changing them.

–Denis Waitley

For me, both types of acceptance is necessary. For one, I need and want to accept my body, my abilities, and my limitations. I acknowledge that at altitude, I might never run as fast as I can at sea-level but what’s important is my acceptance of the responsility to do something…including my attempt to become stronger and faster. I think this is something that I will continue to ponder on in the coming days and months.

I think that’s all for now. Happy running!

GOG 10 Week 3 Training Update

So this past week was a little better in terms of training although I didn’t keep a good record of what went on each day. Basically, the total mileage of the week wasn’t very high but that was somewhat planned. I was able to get three decent (but shorter) runs in with a combo of some strength and yoga. My friend B and I were able to go out to GoG park again and we did approximately 5k while we were there. Boy, the hills are really killers…there was a steady uphill climb that lasted approximately a mile. I had to transition to walking on part of the hill. Grrr.

Honestly, I feel that I’m behind in my projected training progress (did I mention that I’m a chronic undertrainer???) but I guess that’s one of the many lessons running teach me – I can’t be perfect but I can keep trying. I also feel that there’s a lesson about patience somewhere in there; progress is cumulative. In spite of the days I feel lazy and discouraged, I do love running. There’s nothing like the high of finishing a 5+ mile training session…and know that you can easily handle another 5 miles. SIMPLY AMAZING.

On other running news, the weather has been gorgeous these past couple of days. It felt so good to run with shorts and a simple running top (and not all bundled up like I usually am). It reminded me of those warm Southern California days when I was able to run with a long sleeve shirt and shorts (and never lose my tan) all winter.

GoGtraining

B on a training run in the GoG Park

Aside from the graces of good weather, I also added new kicks to my training gear. I know all the warnings against changing footwear mid-training but I’ve been working on my running form for a while now. After some research and soliciting the opinions of runner friends, I decided to see if a more minimalist shoe will help with my tendency to heel strike. Earlier this year, I suffered from horrid plantar fasciitis on my left foot. After going back and forth between getting better and then getting worse again because I ran, I finally just had to stop running for 6 weeks to let it heal. My doctor told me my injury is possibly related to heel striking (aka poor form).

I went down to a local running store and tried out at about 5 pairs of different “minimalist style” running shoes. Of the bunch, I really liked the Inov 8 F-Lite Series – I ended up going home with this shoe. I’m still trying to figure out how to run effectively and efficiently with my new kicks. I took them out for a spin this afternoon (have I already mentioned that the weather is glorious??), and I can really see myself getting used to this. Heeding the suggestions of fellow runners, I’ll be taking my transition slowly and will be going back and forth between the Inov 8 and my Nike Structure.

Since I’m a newbie at all this running shoes stuff, I would love to hear your opinion about running shoes! Do you run with minimalist shoes? What kind of shoes do you wear? Do you love your shoes? 

new kicks

New running shoes 🙂

Happy Running!!

GOG 10 Training Week 2 Update

How about we call it the “not training” update? Between the craziness of Boston, weather in Colorado, and going on an out-of-town trip, my training runs have been few and far between. I’m not even going to really go into detail but basically I did a couple of short runs and I only have lukewarm feelings about them. Honestly, I couldn’t really tell because the weather has been so sucky and I’m kind of a wimp when it’s cold.

With the snow (and crazy wind) still coming in Colorado despite the fact that it’s late April (even as I type!!), I am seriously considering a gym membership at a location near my house (read: less than 5 miles). Currently, my gym access consists of the fitness centers available on military bases. The closet one to me is an airforce base approximately 10 miles away. I guess it’s not that far but considering the time and effort it takes to go there, get on the treadmill (if there’s one open immediately), and get changed afterwards, I’m already feeling defeated and tired!

It looks like the weather this week may be a repeat of what was last week – cold, rain, SNOW, wind during midweek with a slow warming trend towards the end of the week. I really got to get over my inability to go on training runs during poor weather. I can do all the weights I want in my house but at the end of the day, I’m gonna have to RUN for 10 miles up and down a bunch of hills at elevation and that you have to train for. Fortunately, I saw my friend B at a baby shower yesterday and we decided that we need to get together again for a training run in the GOG this weekend. We’re both busy (her even more so because she has kids) but I hope we can find a good time to go together.

In other news, I had an amazing weekend in Taos, New Mexico! It was the trip that both the spouse and I desperately needed – to get away from town, away from the busy-business of our work + everyday life, and to focus on ourselves. So I guess instead of “me time,” we had some “we time.” For those of you who haven’t been to New Mexico, it’s so worth a visit. I am just so facinated and inspired by the Southwest in general. Last Novemeber, the spouse and I visited Santa Fe. It was not hard for me to understand why so many artists (including Georgia O’Keefe) were drawn to New Mexico and were willing to spend years lost in the beauty of this region. I promise I’ll write a little more about my trip later this week but here’s one of my favorite photos from this weekend. I love old churches and the San Francisco de Asis Church is one of the most photographed churches in all of New Mexico. As you can see, it’s definitely unique!

San Francisco

GOG 10 Training Week 1 Update and a Moment of Silence

Oh where do I begin? I said I would keep this blog updated with my training for the upcoming GOG 10 Miler so let’s start with that. I started my first week of training and let’s just say I need to improve (and it’s painful to report to a not-so-great training week)!

Monday: 3.5 Miles (ahead of this terrible storm that blew into Colorado…my ears ached for days after that run)

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: Weights

Thursday: Nada

Friday: Nada

Saturday: 2.5 Miles run on hills and 1 Mile Walk

Sunday: Nada

There are 3 things that I didn’t like about my training last week:

1. I allowed my life to take over my training instead of the other way around. Granted a couple unexpected things happened during the week that made it hard for me to stick to my plans…but I’m also a firm believer in the power of personal will and prioritizing. Obviously, running and training wasn’t at the top of my list, otherwise I would have been able to make the time and energy for it. This week, I will make a better effort of it.

2. I also haven’t been taking care of myself as much as I should! One thing I’ve discovered about training in altitude is that the general environment is less forgiving to a runner. For example, I’ve been drinking soda and not enough water…this has a terrible effect on my body when I try to run. Especially with how dry Colorado has been this past winter (we’re looking at water restrictions here), I need to nurish my body with plenty of water.

3. Mentally, I was stuck at a strange place in my training. This probably goes back to my age-old problem of fear of failure and all those fun thoughts. Basically, I allowed other people to psyche me out on my own training for my own race. After tiptoeing and feeling anxious over my race training, I read fellow runner Coco’s blogpost  about training for the 2013 GW Parkway Classic. The GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler is actually the first race I ever ran and I really loved the race and loved how I felt afterwards, despite the rainy and drippy weather during the 2012 race. I started to follow Coco’s blog regularly last year after I signed up for the GWPC…and reading her most recent post reminded me that even during a good training week (with the prospect of running on a great course), there is always room for improvement. This really goes back to my original intention when I took up running – my main competition is myself. And everyday that I run, I get stronger  and better at it. Yes, it sounds narccistic but my running is for me and no one else. 

(From I ❤ to Run FB Page)

Now for the moment of silence for what happened today in Boston

What I felt when I heard the news was a mixture of disbelief, pain, and anger…partially because of what running meant to me. When I was a teenager, no amount of cajoling from my parents could get me off my bum and go exercise. In college, I kept up my old (poor) habits and even thought I was getting healtheir since I had lost my “baby fat” by going on a diet (so I don’t repeat myself, you can read about my original motivation for running here). Therefore, running, for me, has been a form of therapy and redemption – it’s about taking active control of my life and my body. In my mind, running is wholesome and there’s room for everyone as long as it is physically and medically safe for you to do so. It makes me angry and sad that someone has decided to take that sense of wholesomeness and security away from the runners.

Not long ago, in the immediate wake of a shooting tragedy in the U.S., a friend of mine asked “why does God allow bad things to happen?” I’m no theologian and therefore cannot provide an answer to his question but I have also come to accept that this is the world we live in and there are parts of our cherished lives that others may attempt to destroy or take away from us. It’s up to us to hang on to what truly matters..and keep on living.

So what will I do for the rest of the week? I want to say that I will work on my dissertation, cook delicious food for my husband, keep up with my volunteer work…and I will keep on running. There are constant strengths in our lives that no amount of destruction will take away.

GoG 10 Miler Training

After I signed up for the Garden of the Gods 10 Miler (hereafter referred to as GoG10), I managed to also convince two other fellow Army wives to sign up! My friend  M will be running the 5k event while another friend B decided to challenge the 10 miler with me. What have we done??? 

In my last post about the GoG10, I mentioned that the course is challenging so after some half-hearted attempt at working out/running this week while I recover from being under the weather, I decided that I seriously need a plan and I will need to stick to it. Since running and road races have became so popular these days, there are A TON of resources out on there for runners of all levels. And also thanks to the plethora of running/fitness related blogs, one can simply go to a search engine and type in the relevant keywords to a race to find out more info from other people’s experiences. It’s pretty cool and I’ve found my favorite running blogs this way. I digress…

Anyhow, I decided to follow a modified version of the famous Hal Higdon training program (I’m using the 15k novice version). Here’s my updated version to account for several factors such as time to race, my own experiences, and the course I’ll be running on.

GoG10 Training

The original Hal Higdon is a 10 week program, but I only have 9 weeks until race time. Since I’ve done several races before and is in OK shape right now, I just decided to take out the first week. One of my main objectives between now and June 10th is to raise my overall level of fitness…this means that I’ll be incorporating more strength training and will be cross training with the bike. This is something I’ve never really focused on when I trained for all my other races (I just ran) but will probably be necessary and helpful as I get prepared for GoG10. Also, I need to work on HILLS. I hate hills and the ones around my house (and this town!) are absolutely evil. But the terrain of this race looks something like this:

GoG10 Elevation

Um yeah, I would be crazy if I didn’t train on hills. I hope by the end of this journey, I’ll have the level of fitness and the confidence to zoom up those challenging hills around my house (and on the race course too)! I think the training plan is slightly lower on the number of miles I usually run to prep for a race…but I guess the focus of my training is slightly different from what it has been in the past. Anyways, tomorrow starts day 1 of official training. I had hoped that the weather would be good, spring running weather here on out but of course that’s not the case. It’s suppose to snow this week! Fortuntely, the designated snow day is Tuesday, which is my rest/yoga day 🙂

Alright, let the training begin and be sure to check for my progress in one week’s time!