Fitness


I didn’t sleep well last night/I’m hungry because I didn’t fuel properly/My foot has a twinge/My water tastes funny.  Therefore, I can’t finish my workout as planned, right?  Right.

Do you have this conversation with yourself during a workout?

On Saturday, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill.  It was the first time I’ve ever run 3 miles on a treadmill.  I have not historically run on a treadmill because I hate them.   I find running in place demoralizing    I much prefer seeing my progress as I run.  I find one static pace to be difficult to adjust to.  I prefer self-adjusting within a pace according to changes in terrain.

my view from the mill

So during the entire workout, I kept thinking of reasons to stop.  I had plenty to choose from including, heat, tiredness, and general laziness.  But I didn’t let myself convince myself to stop.   I knew my pace was slow enough to allow me to finish without tons of discomfort.  I had a magazine to read to distract me and music to motivate me.  I had all the pieces to finish my workout.  I just had to stop the negativity.

When excuses popped up, I just said, “No!  You are finishing this workout as planned.”  Last week I adjusted and skipped on workouts.  I didn’t feel guilty because I am just getting back into the rhythm of training and don’t want to put too much pressure on myself so that I give up and quit.  But at the same time, if I can’t discipline myself to stick with my plan reasonably well, I will never regain that rhythm.

I really believe in no-excuses workouts: when you don’t let any excuses stop you from finishing the workout you know you can finish.  It is a good technique to practice because it comes in really handy during races.  Races tend to have many painful and uncomfortable moments when you have to tell yourself that you can continue, that you are going to finish the race, that you can run through the pain, that you have this race.

Of course, sometimes you should adjust or quit a workout or race.  If you are genuinely in danger of being injured or making yourself sick and you stop, that isn’t giving in to excuses.  That’s keeping yourself in shape to run the next workout.

The best part of a no-excuses workout?  At the end, you know you finished, no excuses.

Tomorrow’s running plan: 5 miles.  It’s a step-down week on my plan, so I only have 5 miles to do tomorrow.  And I will run them, no excuses!

When I posted yesterday, I intended to post splits for my run and detail each mile like a proper long run recap.  However, my Garmin decided to freeze up, and I couldn’t get it thawed until this morning.  So here’s is my belated full recounting of my 7-miler.

Mile 1 – 12:46

Mile 2 – 12:22

Mile 3 – 14:38

Mile 4 – 13:51

Mile 5 – 13:22

Mile 6 – 12:46

Mile 7 – 13:15

This run took place at a local park with a paved loop of .4 mile.  I did many, many loops!

The first three miles included the company of my friend Belle.  As we started our first loop, both of us had trouble breathing and we were unusually slow.  There was dense cloud cover, which means the humidity level can be 100%.  This really impacts running pace.  We struggled on, but I was wondering how I could get through 7 miles like that.

Miles 1-2

We had just started the second loop when we felt a sprinkle.  Then drops.  Now, as I live in the tropics, rain never stays a sprinkle.  In fact, it can go from sprinkling to pouring what feels like buckets of water in less than 10 seconds.  I am not embellishing, exaggerating  or being overly dramatic.  Tropical rainstorms are sudden, intense, and dissipate as fast as they come.

So, we had to decide whether to take shelter under a tree or bleachers (like all the sensible people in the park) or just keep running.  I should add that there is no danger to being out in a rainstorm, it’s just cold and wet.  The key word in the preceding sentence: cold.  Even though we run between 6 am and 7 am, it is already uncomfortably warm.  So cold rain would be a blessing.  We decided to keep running.

The rain lasted only 10 minutes or so, and wasn’t a real downpour.  It was hard rain and we got thoroughly wet.  We had to tuck away our mp3 players and headphones.  My dog started to freak out a little.  But we kept running, and you know what?  Those were the best miles I have run since I arrived here in August.  The temperature was actually comfortable for running!  That’s a first!

I actually sped up and dropped my pace to lower than it has ever been running in this somewhat-hilly park.  You can see in mile 2 that despite stopping and messing with stashing sensitive electronics, we pulled out a 12:22 mile.  My long run pace used to be 10:30-11:30 miles.  Now it is closer to 13:00 for even a short run.  So a 12:22 made me feel almost like myself!

Mile 3

Belle kept me company through this slower mile.  There was a lot of puddle-dodging and messing with stuff.  After mile 3, Belle waved goodbye and jogged off home.

Miles 4-7

I had been apprehensive about running so many miles alone and in a park with only one short loop to repeat.  But I quickly zoned out, listened to an audiobook and just ran.  It was the first time since I moved from California I have experienced the peace you only get when your body is preoccupied and your mind partly so with running and you let the other part of your mind focus on what you’re listening to or other random thoughts.

Since I have not run farther than 4 miles in months, I knew 7 would be tough.  The last 5 laps (2 miles) saw me feeling tired, but not discouraged.  I did not have that overwhelming urge to stop and walk.  And the last lap, I actually sped up, leading to a 13:15 mile, instead of the 14:00 mile I had been heading.

I am especially happy that my long run didn’t wear me out so much that I couldn’t accomplish anything else the whole day.  That usually happens once I start running 15+ miles.  But in this heat, all bets are off!

Hope you enjoyed the recap.  I am (belatedly) off to run 3 miles and do WOW 1 of Sexy in Six at my fitness center/gym/workout area.  We’ll settle on a name later.

Toodles!

Do you like running alone or with company?  How many miles do you like to run alone?

Today I ran 7 miles.  It was the first time I have run more than 3 miles since April.  I haven’t been running with any regularity up until the past couple weeks.  It was slow and arduous and included segments of tropical downpour.  Nevertheless, I loved every step of every mile.

To be completely honest, I didn’t work up to this distance as slowly as I should have done.  I have fiddled about with running lately.  A run of a couple miles (maybe) every couple weeks has been my regimen.  But two weeks ago, with fantasies about my trip home dancing in my head, I got the idea to run a race while I am in California and official training began.  So I set out a plan, carefully made a spreadsheet of the next few months, and began to follow it.  The first week is full of strikethroughs and adaptations.  It took me a while to become comfortable with the new routine of running in this place.  But now that all the getting-started anxiety has greatly subsided, this week’s training is going quite well.

Last week’s long run was scheduled for Saturday morning.  I thought I would have time to run 6 miles and get to the produce market before all the lettuce was bought and gone.  But at 3.75 miles, my running buddy and I decided we needed to leave for the market or risk having nothing green to eat.  So I got almost 4 in, and made up the other 2.  The next day.  Not an ideal long run as it wasn’t particularly long.

I had scheduled the long run this week for Tuesday, but it had to be moved due to sleeping issues.  And I actually think Thursday may be a better day.  I will see how next week goes and possible tweak my schedule more.

So although I have adjusted somewhat this week, the mileage has all been according to schedule and I enjoyed running this week.  I have a theory as to why I suddenly started enjoying it instead of just hurting, so stay tuned for that post.

How strictly do you follow running schedules?

Our first visit home has been tentatively scheduled, and I intend to complete a race while in California.  Therefore, I began official training last week.  As my exercise during the past ten months has consisted of whipping eggs for cake by hand and maniacally mopping my floors, it was a challenge to complete the first week of my training plan.

Getting back to exercise is a great sign.  It means I have mentally settled in, and am ready to have a life. I currently am able breathe, eat, shower, and sleep with a degree of familiarity and routine.  It took long enough.  But now I am ready!

So I’ve been getting ready to get back to sweating (on purpose instead of incidentally).  I paid for a month’s subscription to the fitness center in a local resort.  Now I have access to a windy, shady spot to run on the dreadmill, use the elliptical and lift weights.  Although I prefer covering actual ground instead of running and going nowhere, running in the sun after 7 am really isn’t an option here.   I developed a training plan for my potential race.  I bought a huge container of Gatorade mix to hydrate while I exercise in 90-degree, 100%-humid weather.  I instituted a schedule of laundry that allows me to wash my exercise clothes between uses.  I am all set.

This week so far:

Sunday: 2-mile run, Sexy in Six Week 1 weights.
Monday: quick Jazz-class type stretch, a few Pilates exercises

The rest of this week, proposed:

Tuesday: 3 miles on the treadmill, SIS Week 1 weights
Wednesday: 20-minutes Pilates Mat Workout
Thursday: 7-miles at the local park
Friday: 3 miles, SIS Week 1 weights
Saturday: 3 miles

Ready, Set, Go!

There is no definable point at which a plan becomes a reality.  It is a gradual process.  One day,  however, you look around and realize parts of your life are very, very different and show no signs of stopping there.  Our plan to move has been many years in the making.  I can tell it’s now become a reality when I look at our near-empty living room.

It’s a unique feeling to see a space you thought of as ‘home’ for years looking empty and foreign.  There’re twinges of sadness, anxiety (what if we need to go back and now we’ve sold all our funiture), but also lots of excitement.  I’ve never been a minimalist by nature.  I’m actually more of a born hoarder.  I thought letting go of all the furniture my husband and I picked out at the beginning of our lives together would be immensely painful. However, where I expected to feel a sense of loss and emptiness, I actually feel eager and excited.  I absolutely love having less stuff.  I am focused less on the past and more on the future.  I highly recommend paring down.

It seems there’s an endless to-do list when you move, especiallly to another country.  So how does one maintain sanity in an empty-ish-but-somehow-still-untidy house with endless lists of errands, phone calls and packing tasks to accomplish?  One sweats out the stress!  I’ve learned supremely well in this stressful season that skipping workouts is not helpful in the long run.  When you stop taking care of your basic needs, the end of your motivation and staying power is near.

I am about to try Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training.  I obviously don’t have time for a lot of working out so each minute has to count.  I also don’t have a gym membership anymore, so a workout can’t require a lot of equipment.  Bonjour home workout dvds.  (Netflix has all the new good ones and some oldies you can check out).

Now that I’ve downed my green smoothie and coffee for the morning, I’m ready to sweat.  Hopefully, the workout will leave me all sweaty and de-stressed and ready to make a dent in my super-long to-do list.

I’ll keep you posted.

Ciao,

Amanda

I divide my life, as relevant to this blog, thusly: fitness, food and miscellaneous interests.  In today’s post I will begin an account of my fitness history and habits.

I like to think of myself as a naturally active person with varied activity-based interests.  However, I must admit that more appropriate terms may be ‘schizophrenic’ and ‘short attention span.’  I have always been a physically active person and through rigorous testing and with plenty of outside confirmation, I have proven true my hypothesis that unless I keep up a minimum level of exercise, I become rather bristly and unkind.  Therefore, I am always doing something.

I have concluded that for my best health and well-being, I have to incorporate cardio, resistance training and stretching.  Balancing all three is tricky but necessary.  I don’t like feeling strong but stiff, or else supple but weak.

At one time, I was convinced I had to do everything at least three times a week to have a minimum of fitness.  I scheduled it all out using complicated spreadsheets and schedules from my gym, dance studio and running buddies.  I ended up scheduling something like four hours a day for exercise.  A smidge excessive, you say?  I concur.

At this mature (snort of derisive laughter) stage of my life, I try to incorporate a variety of activities on a regular, though not necessarily weekly, basis.  If I have a big event coming up, I will spend more time training for that activity and reduce time spend in others.  However, I find I like a varied and balanced fitness portfolio, which is why I have largely given up participating in orchestrated events like races and rides.  I had that stage: when racing was so exciting and training schedules were new and promising.  But having done it all the way up and through a marathon, I must admit the mystique and allure have left the building.  Races are fun, but I have bigger priorities at the moment, namely, keeping balanced, sane and moving to anther continent.

I will have to devise methods of keeping said balance even in foreign surroundings.  I believe it will be, to quote J.M. Barrie, “an awfully big adventure.”

Tomorrow’s Post: In Which I Dance
(An Accounting of My Current Fitness Habits, Part II)