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I may finally be settling into my new routine.  It has taken some time to feel out how to add crossfit, running, volleyball (coaching & playing) into my work & life schedule.

This is as close as I have gotten to achieving my weekly goals (meaning next week, I need to kill it).

  • Crossfit – 2 classes √
  • Volleyball – 2 hours √
  • Running – 19 miles (I ran 16.5 miles this week.  So close!!)
A few good things about this week: my Friday attitude adjustment carried into Saturday’s run.  I was determined to have a great ten mile run with my training group.  I showed up Saturday to meet a new runner friend (who is going to need a nickname).  We ran the first 3.5 miles together and I felt great.  I have no clue what my pace was because my running app stalled when I received a phone call (oops) but it was a good run.  For a girl who still considers herself an introvert, it was easy talking with my new runner pal.
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After she turned back (she is training for a half marathon), I continued across the bridge (my one time nemesis – maybe that is too strong a word).  When I ran into my friend buttahcup, she said “You’re really fast today!”  Made my day.  I don’t always feel like a runner but there are moments when I do; Saturday was one of those runs.  I made it back to the starting point and was happy with my effort.
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That in itself is impressive.  Although I have finished three half marathons, running this distance without walk breaks seems like a daunting task.  I am hoping this new found attitude is around to stay.  (I know, it is all my choice!)  Also, I didn’t think about listening to music once.  Improvement.
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On deck this week:
  • Crossfit – 2 classes
  • Volleyball – 2 hours
  • Running – 16 miles

At some point in the next few weeks, I have to increase my crossfit classes to three, possibly four classes each week.  (Your reaction is most likely my reaction – did you cringe?)  Crossfit is kicking my tail – muscles are sore for days after – but I also feel all the leg work I’ve done this week (front & back squats + deadlifts) truly improved my 10 mile run.  That was the purpose of putting myself through the craziness.

In the next few weeks I am embarking on some new adventures & I cannot wait to share them with you.  Some are a bit scary to share but only because I know y’all personally.  My last secret…to be revealed next week.  Until then, happy trails.

This morning as I was busy ruminating obsessing about tomorrow’s upcoming long run, followed by a conversation about how I’ve only run this distance once; I came across this quote.  It was a powerful reminder.

I chose this quote as one of my motto’s for 2012 during my Reset.  And it found me again this morning when I needed the reassurance most.  Upon reading it, my mind immediately became still and my heart beat slowed.  It was like the moment when you know everything is going to be okay.

Besides, who am I kidding?  We’re talking about running 10 miles.  (Not a real world problem.)  It is a blessing I am able to do it all.  In light of my found-again zen like state moment, I challenge y’all to get your shine on this weekend.

As much as I believe the value of effort, I also believe this:

You either do it.  Or you don’t. 

It is incredibly hard to explain this to my players (people, in general) because they have been taught effort is key.  Really, effort is the link.

Although crossfit is hard, I feel like I’ve been coasting for the past two weeks.  It is tough but I have left each session knowing I had given everything I had.  There was nothing left in the fuel tank.  I did not do the highest version of an activity but I did the scaled version & completed each session.

Last night was different.  I cannot even explain what was wrong.  I went into the session with high hopes (we were lifting not the “other stuff” I hate doing).  I was ready to get to work.  So ready, I forgot to do a portion of the warm-up (including lunges & dips).  PR’d my squat weight last night.

Then I prepped for the timed portion 21 dead lifts + 21 front squats (15, 15, 9, 9).  First round dead lifts: easy.  First round front squats: not so much.  There was a lot of strain on my wrist plus some idiot decided to do extra squats before this exercise.  Given an alternative hold for the front squats helped my wrist but not the bar on my clavicle (the bar wouldn’t hold still).  My last set of squats felt like I was barely moving my legs.

I cannot remember the last time I felt a burn working out but this leg workout did it.  I had to shuffle up & down stairs.  I even considered riding down the concrete steps to my door on my tail.  It hurt.  Still does.

I feel like I did not give my total effort.  In part because I skipped 7 (ish) reps on the front squat.  Focus, discipline & effort have been on my mind a lot the past week.  Big Sur is constantly on my brain and if I don’t give everything I have in training & preparation, I am not going to succeed.  And that is totally unacceptable.

The goals for last week:

  • Crossfit – 2 classes
  • Volleyball – 2 hours
  • Running – 19 miles

Sadly, I did one Crossfit class that has left me wheezing all week & ran 3.5 miles.  Count them, three point five.

My excuse:

snowmageddon 2012

This photo was taken on Friday when the weather started to get warmer.  My race was cancelled & my training group cancelled the training run on Saturday.  I feel like I’m way behind!   My running coach says to look forward in training, not back; it seems awfully hard to do.  Even though my plan was to run 10 miles Saturday (training plan said eight), it feels like I won’t be ready for the nine mile training run this Saturday.

Here is me looking forward to this upcoming week:

Goals

  • Crossfit – 2 classes
  • Volleyball
  • Running – 17 miles

One day, I am going to achieve what I set out to accomplish at the beginning of each week.

Saturday was my first long training run with my new group.  Because my race does not allow headsets, I have banished music on these long runs.  I, obviously, have an issue with this rule.  Although there are times I am not aware of the music, there are also times when the music has been the only thing to get me through a run.

Saturday, it meant I had to get through six miles alone.  With my brain. {date with disaster.}

Ignore the fact I was sick.  And that it was raining.  And maybe my bad attitude.  And no pre-run fuel.  Maybe take those all into account.  Who knows how or when an epiphany strikes?

The beginning of my run started with this stream of consciousness:

I’m in way over my head.  What was I thinking?  How can I even think about running a full marathon?  I’m not ready.  I have yet to run a half marathon the way I wanted.  

All those people in our group – those real runners – very few of them are running a full.  Why would I attempt this when they are not?  There must be something wrong with me.  They must think I’m crazy.  Who signs up for a hard, hilly race almost a year in advance and before they ran a half marathon?  With a time limit?  Someone is totally delusional.  I mean, how did I even know I would like to do this?

There was also this thread:

I’m injured.  I’m sick.  What am I doing out here?  I should turn around and go home.  I don’t belong with these hardcore runners.  My legs are hurting – stupid crossfit.  I can’t even run a mile without hurting.  Running is totally unhealthy!

About a mile into the run:

What was different about the first six miles of Nike?  Because I was totally zen.  I was in the zone.  Why was that different than all these other races?  What is my freaking block?  

Hmmmm.  I was doing a lot of yoga then.  I had just finished a 30 day challenge and had been practicing 3-4 times a week.  Why is yoga different?  I am outside my head during class.  My thoughts don’t bombard those quiet moments.  

Oh… That must be it.  In yoga, you focus on breathing.  Maybe that is the answer to these long quiet training runs.  Maybe I just need to focus on my breath.  Let everything else fall away.  

And that is what I did.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Each time the nasty lizard brain came back, I spent time re-focusing on my breath.  Surprisingly, it worked.  I would like to say I ran faster than normal.  But I don’t know.  I know there were moments I felt strong.  But that could all be in my head too.

My new-found focus is going to be a work in progress.  My lizard brain is used to hanging around and causing me all kinds of turmoil.  I have another chance to practice this weekend with a 10 mile race.

First week of marathon training: done.  I ran with my new training group on Saturday on my local trail in the rain, sick.  Maybe not the wisest decision because I spent the rest of the weekend sleeping or catching up on movies.

Yoga/Pilates: I know yoga is beneficial for running.  There are numerous benefits but I am having a hard time fitting yoga into my schedule.  Plus, I am not sure how good it is when I can only get in a class or two a week.  (Better than nothing.  I know.)  In addition to a lack of time, I am not sure I can afford the extra classes.  Crossfit & the gym are taking precedence.  I did attend one pilates class last week with the Russian instructor who makes us do eye exercises (strangest thing I’ve ever done).

Crossfit: After being absent the month of December, I returned to Crossfit last week with my tail between my legs.  The coach said the hardest thing you will ever do is to walk through the door the first time.  Hardest thing, is walking through the door after a long absence & believing everyone thinks you’re a total slacker.  My first day back seemed somewhat low-key.  And by low-key, I mean, it has gotten progressively harder.  (Look up “toe to bar” and you will see the kind of suck I’ve attempted to put my body through.)

I met my goal of two classes last week, although, it would appear I got the side-eye when I told the coach I was only coming in twice a week.  Starting February, I have to attend four classes a week.  Stoked.  (You see the falling confetti, right?)

Volleyball: It has been a long time since I have played competitive volleyball. And I am so energized and excited about playing.  I miss my Charlotte leagues.  I hope my team stays together during the summer but if not, I may have to venture out (again) and find good play in Seattle.  So far, my searches have come up with less than stellar play.  I mean, who doesn’t use cut shots in grass doubles?

Running: I ran nine miles last week.  A few miles short.  My only excuse: I was sick.  My long training run Saturday sans music held a running epiphany (details on that tomorrow) and I felt faster.  Whether that is true or not, I’ll never know.  I would like to think Crossfit is helping already.  I have to decrease my pace by a least a minute for the end of April.

On tap this week:

  • Crossfit – 2 classes
  • Volleyball – 2 hours
  • Running – 19 miles

And because I keep forgetting this small detail: I have a race on Saturday!  Ten miles in Steilacoom with free baked potatoes after I cross the finish line.  Here’s hoping the weather turns better in the next few days.

Sun-dance, I'm on it.

Marathon training starts this week!  Specifically, yesterday.  There is a part of me doing cartwheels all over the place; there is also a part full of negative self talk.  I am not quite sure what happened at mile 7 in San Francisco, but it is going to be my demon to conquer in the upcoming months.

All I could think after meeting with my new training group: at some point in the next four months, I am going to break down.  It will probably involve tears – of the loud, sobbing variety.  The other option is a full-blown tantrum: less tears & more fisticuffs with inanimate objects.  In the middle of a long run.  On a trail.  In front of the whole world.  At least that is how I have pictured it in my head.

Lizard brain – you’re on vacation until further notice.

Because this runner girl needs to cross the finish line.  Okay, maybe need is a bit strong.  I want to cross the finish line.  I need it for my sanity.  I do not want to be swept from the course because I don’t meet the time limit.

{Note to self: your first race at a new distance should not have a time limit.}

Not only will I be über-focused on my training & all things related, I also have to figure out how to run 26.2 miles sans music.  Not being able to run without music may be the hardest part of training & my event.  Starting this weekend, I will be running without musical motivation on my long runs.  I’m already freaking out over the lack of music for a short six mile run Saturday.

Perhaps to my benefit, I have read it is easier to run without music on scenic routes.  Big Sur is gorgeous; come race day, it may be my saving grace.  Until then, I am going to find distraction elsewhere.  {Or a way to fashion wireless earplugs for my sunglasses.}

Good-bye iPod.  I’ll see you again on Sunday.

The first week of 2012 was a recovery week for me.  Although I continue to hear the complaints from other runners who can’t handle the taper or the recovery period, I enjoy my rest weeks.  They are the only weeks I have free time.  Maybe more true outside my coaching season.

Last week: I ran 4.8 miles and played volleyball on Thursday night.  With adults.  In a competitive league.  (happy.) I missed my yoga class (volleyball tournament ended late) and I missed the crossfit class (they were closed).  Hitting .500 right now.

This week there will be no deviation in my schedule.  None.  I have serious doubts in my head about training for a full marathon.  The only way to get over it is to jump in & follow the training plan. Crossing the finish line will only happen if I follow the plan. Fail to plan, plan to fail. In my case it will be fail to follow the plan, plan to fail.

  • Yoga / Pilates – 2 classes
  • Crossfit – 2 classes
  • Volleyball – 2 hrs play / 4 hrs coach
  • Run – 15 miles!

The crazy schedule for this week. Fortunately, I will have the weekend to catch up on sleep plus there is a 90 minute massage thrown in to help my leg muscles recover more quickly. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

{ weekly goals will be titled with my motivating song of the week. could not figure out any other way to explain the title & didn’t want it to seem out of place. This week: “wild ones” by flo rida + sia. }

What better way to send off 2011 then with a half marathon?  Crazy talk, I know.

more camel-bell: look who I ran into at mile 6

Yukon Do It was my third half marathon & the race earning my way into the exclusive Half Fanatics club.  By exclusive, I mean you have to earn your eligibility with crazy feats of vigor.  My streak (3 half marathons in 90 days) earns me a bottom rung Neptune moon level.  Don’t believe me when I say I haven’t already started planning my rise through the levels.

This was a weird race for me.  My training  since my second half marathon has been spotty, almost non-existent.  Prior to yesterday’s race, I had run 25 miles all December.  Not exactly good.  I should have run 25 miles each week.  As you can imagine, I was freaking out a bit by my lack of training even though my lack of discipline had gotten me into this mess.  On top of that, fueling during the race was off.  It wasn’t until after the half way point, I took my first shot block.  I was not thirsty.  I didn’t take salt.  I am still learning how to fuel mid-race but perhaps the weather had a hand in it this time.

It was cold; at 8 a.m. it was 25 degrees.  The first mile was downhill and an icy one at that.  Serenaded by barking seals, I made my way along Yukon Bay.  The next few miles were along the water with gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountain range.  (First time I didn’t take photos.)  Add in crystal clear water, ducks, herons and a bald eagle fly by – beautiful, scenic run.  At the mile 1.5 water stop, I considered following the 5k runner turn-around.  My heart was not in running this race.  Who needs to be a Half Fanatic?

At mile 4, I caught up with my friend Beth and we ran together until we reached Manchester State Park.  I tried the remainder of the race to catch up with her but it didn’t happen until I crossed the finish line.  Beth was a godsend because I had a reel of negative thoughts running repeat in my head until I caught up with her.  I am not much of a talker while running but I may reconsider my stance.  While we were together, the negativity disappeared & the running didn’t seem as hard.

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions but I am going to make an exception for 2012.  I resolve to be mentally tough in regards to running.  I teach my players to be mentally tough & I believe I am mentally tough on the volleyball court.  But I have spent over 20 years playing.  I must also remember to master a skill, you must put in 10,000 hours of practice.  Along with being mentally tough, I must  be kind to myself while I am learning to run.

I confess my December goals were mostly ignored.  To remedy the situation I am moving to weekly goals instead.  Shorter term goals will keep me a bit more focused & accountable to completing them.

The December Rundown

Goal Actual
Run 100 miles 40 miles FAIL
Five yoga classes Zero yoga classes FAIL
Seven crossfit classes Zero crossfit classes FAIL
Races – 1 (Yukon Do It) Finished
Eligible to join Half Fanatics Sending off registration soon!
Christmas Project Accomplished
No nail biting Still going strong

I cannot pinpoint any one issue for failing at my running goal. I was positive re-joining the gym and having access to a treadmill would make it easier to get up early in the morning to run. And then the treadmill happened. For me, running three miles on the treadmill is cruel & unusual punishment. I get bored. Even if I’m watching basketball.

As for Crossfit, I decided to take the month off and start again in January. My knee has been acting up all month. The moment I felt it was on the mend, I decided to play volleyball for 2.5 hours, jump serving the entire time. Then I went back the second night and a third night. My knee has hated me every day since.

On good notes, I did complete my third half marathon and am now eligible to join Half Fanatics. I continue to refrain from biting my nails. I was told after 30 days I can count it as a crossed off goal (it takes 27 days to break a habit). My Christmas project was also completed. It is going to change how I do gifts in the future. I’ve also decided to start Christmas in July next year allowing me to be free to do as I please in December.

The Week Ahead

Goal # of times
Attend yoga 1
Crossfit class 1
Volleyball league 1
Run 5 miles

It is a rest week after a big race; my focus is on recovery. The following week my full marathon training starts (what was I thinking?). I meet with my training group on Saturday. I also love I will be doing this with buttahcup. Safety in numbers!

As for my 36×36 list, January 1st starts my month-long frugal challenge. It is going to be a big challenge but once done will set the tone for the rest of the year. My reward: a trip to Chicago to see the Boston Celtics take on the Bulls.

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on the road