12/16/10

Neighborhood Drag

I fell asleep during class today. That’s really bad when you’re the teacher. Thankfully, my children are my students and they love me even when I’m having “one of those sleepy-headed days.” I’m not sure if it’s the winter weather, which has been surprisingly mild the last couple of days or if it’s a combination of eating too many goodies and not enough nutritious foods and my deep interest in late night games of online Scrabble or my inability to put down the book Once a Runner at night, that I checked out at the library this week. I’m thinking it’s a potpourri – a nice mixture of many of those reasons, but whatever the cause — I’m feeling really unmotivated lately.

That little voice in my head says, “I don’t wanna” when I’m lacing up my shoes or laying down my yoga mat. It’s a real effort to keep active for me this time of year.

Tonight, I laced up the shoes in the hopes it would help me snap out of this sluggish funk. The icy wind should have shocked me awake, but it only made me want to turn back around and go back into the warm house. My legs felt heavy, my body weighed down as though someone had placed a 20 lb sack of those famous Idaho potatoes on my shoulders before sending me out on the foot-dragging run.

But, I did it. I at least got in 3 miles.

This weekend I have big plans again. My husband is planning to create a marathon in the spring around a beautiful lake we have in our town. I ran the whole perimeter earlier this year while training for my first official 50k. That’s when the wheels in my husband’s head started turning.

So, this Sunday, my two closest running pals and I are “testing out the course” again — intending to do the entire 26.2 distance despite the fact that the forecast is calling for rain and snow. It should be an event. My husband and five kids will crew for us (and are promising donuts to be one of the options at our traveling “aid station.”) I may be worn down — but I can always run for donuts. 

Stats: 3.01 miles. Ave pace: 10:04. Time: 30:20. Felt: Tired

12/16/10

Wii Fit

Felt a little tight this morning, so chose to do mostly yoga moves this morning. After I felt stretched out, I also did 6 min of Super Hula (that always gets me sweating), Advanced Step (6 min), 30 jackknives, and beginner boxing (also gets me sweating by the end.) Good workout.

Stats: 32 min. Felt: Good

12/15/10

Blue Skies Smiling at Me

I’m solar-powered. That would explain how slow and low I’ve felt in the past couple of weeks while the weather’s been so bleak, while today with the golden sun beaming down on me, I felt as though my chest rose up towards the skies and my heart burst forth with beams of light, my smile was back on my face and I couldn’t help but wave and grin at every passing car. I felt alive again today with that canopy of cloudless blue skies over miles and miles of farmland — faded red barns, silos and rows and rows of moist, brown earthen furrows. I love living so close to the countryside that I can experience it on a daily basis. I’m so much more at peace when there are more fields and farm animals than houses in an area.

Though the speed has not returned to my legs (I imagine it’s a combination of a severe reduction in weekly mileage and my weekend mountain long runs fatiguing my legs), it felt like heaven to be running the roads again today. I believe I heard this conversation between my shoes and the asphalt this morning:

Road: You’re back! I really missed you. I’d started feeling something was coming between us, Asics!

Asics: I missed you too! Something had come between us: winter; the snow, the ice the slush and mud. It was hard to feel we still had the same connection through all of that. I’d started to wonder if we’d ever be together again.

Road: Well, we’re together again today! Let’s frolic while we can!!!!

My happy (though fairly slow) mile splits for today:

Mile 1: 10:22
Mile 2: 10:34
Mile 3: 10:14
Mile 4: 9:52
Mile 5: 9:46
Mile 6: 9:27
Last .17 (home stretch): 7:09 (FUN!)

Today’s temps: 35 degrees. No wind. Sunny. Clear skies! = Perfect Running Weather! 

Stats: Elevation Gain: 452 ft. 6.17 miles. 9:58 ave pace. Time: 1:01 Felt: Happy

12/14/10

Danskin Mini Ball Core DVD

My hamstrings are so tight, so I still have to do mostly beginner poses on this yoga/pilates dvd, but I really enjoy it. Using the mini ball gives the moves an extra challenge that I like.

54 minutes

Boy Pushup Challenge
Morning Boy-style pushups
5 sets of 10 with 30 second breaks in between sets.

Will do round 2 (5 sets of 10) this evening before bed.

My 5 year old has been working on her wall sit today and is up to 49 seconds. 

My 8 year old was determined to beat my old record of 3:30 for the wall sit and just did it in 4:01 before collapsing to the floor! Way to go, Josh!!! He said his new goal is 5 minutes today and being without any bravado at all he declared, “I’m getting good at this. I’ll bet I can hold it for an hour if I keep working on it.” ha ha. I love the self-esteem of 8 year olds!

My 10 year old has already knocked out his 100 pushups for the morning (last set was 36 in a row – he was determined to beat my 35 in a row from yesterday.)  Way to go, Jr!

My 11 year old decided to work on both jump roping and hula hooping – switching between the two activities each time she exercises. Go Becca!

I’m thinking a stopwatch might be a good stocking stuffer for these kiddos of mine this Christmas.

12/14/10

100 Boy Pushups

My family members and I each chose a fitness goal yesterday to start working towards in the New Year. My 10 year old son and I chose to work on doing 100 push ups (that are broken down into smaller sets throughout the day) 3 x a week until we can each do 100 pushups all at once. My 11 year old daughter is working on doing 1,000 hula hoop spins a day (she’s pretty good and has even kept her hoop moving for 1,226 spins without it dropping before once) and my 8 year old son is going to work on his wall sit – working up to holding it for 3 minutes solid. My two youngest girls (ages 5 and 3) are likely just going to have fun trying out the different activities the older kids and I are doing and my husband is determined to run 3 x a week and I’m excited about that since I’d love for him to become committed to running also so that we can do it together.
So, for my first day of “100 pushups” challenge I did:
Round 1 – 35 pushups (boy style)
Round 2 – 10 pushups (after a minute break)
I saved the others for bedtime and I think that’s how I’ll keep doing it on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. About 50 in the am and 50 in the pm. Maybe I’ll get stronger and be able to handle them closer together sooner, but for now – I think this will be fine.
At bedtime I did:
Round 3: 10
60 second break
Round 4: 10
60 second break
Round 5: 10
60 second break
Round 6: 10
60 second break
Round 7: 15
Collapse – just kidding (sorta.) 
I was surprised that I could do 35 in the morning all at once. The kids were watching and I told them that I really didn’t think I would be able to handle more than 2-10 max. My 11 year old did 16 and my 10 year old did 17. It was very positive and we all encouraged each other along. My 10 year old is a really determined little guy (very small for his age too – he still wears size 6/7 clothes.) He knocked out all 100 within half an hour – just totally focused on the goal. I love that about him. My daughter immediately headed outside and started working on her hooping right in the chilly backyard. I was inspired.
I’m a bit sore this morning, so I know this is going to do me some good.
And, though I’m reporting on this today (Dec 13th), this workout happened yesterday. But, I’m happy to get to share that today is in fact my 13th wedding anniversary! I married my best friend, we’ve had five amazing kids together and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Happy Anniversary Wayne!!! This is the first wedding anniversary that I’ve been able to zip up my wedding dress (and that’s saying something after five babies!) Hooray for running and how it’s given me back my youth (at least that’s how it seems sometimes despite all of that gray hair that Miss Clairol helps me hide.) lol

12/11/10

My Achy Breaky Buns

Today a whole group of runners came out to celebrate the birthday of one of our gang (Happy Birthday, Darian!) the best way we know how: Going for a long run in the Boise Foothills!

To get things off to a festive start, our youthful pal, Dennis did several clap pushups. Just in case we missed them the first time, he did round two when a few more runner pals showed up a few minutes later.  I wish “I” could do clap pushups. Heck, I wish I could do regular pushups without collapsing to the floor after a few. Maybe when I’m a little bit older and a whole lot wiser like Dennis, I’ll learn how to do that party trick too.

I decided to just use the top ten descriptions I could think of to better paint a word picture of today’s run:
1. Mountainous
2. Single-Track
3. Frozen Snow
4. Slush
5. Muddy
6. Steep
7. Gorgeous
8. Icy
9. Climbing and then more climbing
10. Party time on the downhills!  (Finding footholds was a huge challenge with the frozen snow mixed with mud and slush on the single track trails. I love a challenge and I love the way the wind whistles by so fast when I’m running downhill that my eyes water and I can hardly see – which makes it even MORE of a wild and crazy blast!)

Ok, a few numbers to also set the mental stage for what today’s run was all about:

The data above is “moving” pace and time from Garmin Connect. Our actual time out there was right about 4 hours.

Max Elevation today: 4,712 feet
Elevation Gain Total: 2,466 feet (Per Garmin Connect’s adjusted data) 3,340 is what my watch uploaded, so you can see there’s a big difference. I honestly FELT like the watch data was closer to reality — but, there it is.

Elevation gain per mile per Garmin’s regular data since Garmin Connect doesn’t make the individual mile elevation gain available:

Mile 1: 185 ft
Mile 2: 310 ft
Mile 3: 458 ft
Mile 4: 514 ft
Mile 5: 450 ft
Mile 6: 432 ft
Mile 7: 127 ft
Mile 8: 169 ft
Mile 9: 40 ft
Mile 10: 16 ft
Mile 11: 55 ft
Mile 12: 141 ft
Mile 13: 266 ft
Mile 14: 45 ft
Mile 15: 58 ft
Mile 16: 20 ft
Mile 17: 55 ft

Last night was a wonderful night. I went Christmas shopping for my five kids. I was in the holiday spirit, so I ordered Chinese food and for dessert the family snacked on divinity, sugar cookies and other naughty treats. That little bit of fun came back to haunt me severely in the last few miles of today’s run.  In addition to the stomach problems, I also went from zooming down the hills and feeling wonderful to barely walking at a snail’s pace when my hamstrings and glutes just cramped up on me tight. Should have brought my pretzels. I think I was low on sodium.

Stats: 17.01 miles. Ave pace: 12:11 Time: 3:27:22 Felt: Wimpy, pain, cramps and fun on the downhills.

12/9/10

Danskin Now Mini Ball Core Workout

I love reacquainting myself with all of my workout DVDs this time of year. One of my favorites is the one I used today: The Danskin Now 25 cm Pilates Mini Ball Workout DVD with Linda Farrell. It’s a combo of mat pilates and yoga moves that incorporate the mini ball. The instructor is easy to follow and has a soothing voice and the kind of dancer’s body that always makes me try just a little harder hoping one day I can look more like her. ha!

I love the variations for beginners and advanced that she offers. Since I have really tight hamstrings, I often have to use the beginner moves, though I’m able to do the advanced ones with the ab work. Squeezing the little ball between the inner thighs really gives a burn. My abs are already feeling it, so I know this will be a great one to turn to this winter for a good core workout.

Stats: 1 hour. Felt: Very good/Challenging Workout!

12/9/10

My Wii Fit Plus Died

Yes – 12 minutes!!!  Yesterday was “one of those days.” I popped in my Wii Fit Plus disc into the Wii and immediately received a “disc read error.” I’m the only one who really uses the Wii Fit Plus in the family, but that doesn’t mean I’m the only one who touches it. My two sons are the premiere Wii users in the family and they often take out whatever disc is in their way and (despite being told repeatedly to put each disc into it’s proper cover) fling it to the side while they make way for their own games. Sometimes these discs have been known to end up on the wood floor.  You get the picture. It’s a constant battle here to keep the discs free of scratches and in their covers. My Wii Fit Plus suffered this fate and now no longer works at all. Bummer.

I spent half an hour trying to wipe the disc and trying to get it to work – but it was a hopeless case. Reluctantly, I put in the Wii Fit disc instead, though I really didn’t want to use that one since it doesn’t have the feature that allows me to do several moves in a row without all the pausing for “points.” It also doesn’t have all of the moves that the Wii Fit Plus, does — but it was all I had.

Unfortunately, I’d also gotten distracted by a sick child and time got away from me. The kids and I had tickets to see a matinee performance of the Nutcracker Ballet in town and that’s how I ended up with a 12 minute workout for the day. At least it was something.

The ballet was wonderful, by the way.

12/7/10

Winter Doldrums

It’s definitely that time of year again. It’s colder, the ground is a mixture of snow, slush and mud. There’s less daylight to play in. And my mileage is suffering as a consequence. My monthly mileage this year peaked in August with 162.54 miles -a mileage PR for me. Sept was 154.38. October was down to 111.73, followed by the lowest mileage month for the entire year — November – with only 81.92.  It’s affecting my mood. I’m feeling antsier, more absent-minded and grumpier.

This time of year requires creativity to maintain a reasonable mileage base. Some pals of mine meet twice a week at an indoor track at 5 am to run for an hour. I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and pull myself out of my cozy, warm bed this winter to join them. I think it will help.

I did yoga earlier today, but have been walking around with a little cloud over my head today, so I figured getting in some endorphins might help me feel more like my usual self. My husband came home from work at about 4:30 pm today, so I headed upstairs to pull on my brightest colored clothing (topped with what looks just like a School Crossing Guard’s yellow reflective vest.) Since it’s getting dark out so soon these days, I want to make sure I’ll be seen by cars.

I headed out into the cold. Tonight’s temperature was about 32 degrees, 100% humidity and 5 mph winds. It was a bit gloomy out.

I jogged the neighborhood roads and headed towards my favorite canal path to see if it was runnable. I ended up knee-highing it through the 6 inches of slushy snow and shoe-sucking mud and puddles. I only made it about 1/4 a mile in that before having to head back to the roads again. I was a bit nervous running so near to the cars in the dark. You just can’t tell when someone is texting or eating or just not paying attention to crazy runner chicks who are out in this weather running on the road.

Since my eleven year old had given me big eyes right before I left and asked, “What’s for dinner, Mom?” I knew I couldn’t be gone long — so I did my couple of miles and headed back home.

I miss my nice weather. There, I admitted it!

Stats: 2.15 miles. Ave pace: 10:06. Time: 21:45 Felt: Gloomy