"Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don't have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Piece of Work

Running is work, Plymetrics are work, and strength training is work. Put all three together, and that's a piece of something! I started my day yesterday at 5:00AM running 5 miles. I did 3 miles at a 7:38 pace, and completed the last 2 miles with .5 mile interval speed work. I don't know if the air wasn't flowing at Lifetime, or if I was just working up a storm, but I looked like I took a shower when I finished!

I had some time to clean up and run to the bathroom before I started Bootcamp at 6:00AM at Lifetime. This is the beginning of my second week in the Bootcamp class and I am LOVING it! We have moved into the power phase of training, which comprises mostly plyometrics and power movements. That means lots of running, lots of jumping, lots of hopping, and skipping. Sounds like schoolgirl moves--but don't knock it until you try it. I understand the bootcamp slogan now, "You don't do bootcamp, you survive it." When that hour was up, my body was done. I had a nice 8 hour recovery at work, before I received more madness!

One of my business clients got me in touch with the manager at Discover Strength, a personal training company in Plymouth. Yes, I'm a personal trainer, and train clients weekly; however, any trainer who likes to work hard will confess they love when another trainer gives them a beating. It's easy to pound a client to the ground, but it's difficult to hold yourself to those same intense standards. It can be done, but I find it enjoyable when I have someone else pushing me beyond what I thought I'd be able to do. Their philosophy of training is far different from what I typically do. Not that one way is better than the other, just very different. There personal training sessions only last 30 minutes (which was long enough!), and do not involve ANY cardio. When I train I like to do circuits where I keep my heart rate going between zones. I often go for lower weight and higher reps, to keep my cardio endurance challenging, even as I'm strength training. I go for this approach because I am a distance runner, and the cardio piece is crucial to me. But I also recognize that strictly strength training is beneficial to distance runners as it helps build lean muscles, and prevent injury. So as I walked into the doors of Discover Strength I had no idea what the session held for me. I only did 10 exercises. And I only did one set of each exercise. And I only did about 6-8 reps of any given exercise, if I even made it to 6!! They really focus on muscle failure. So oftentimes I would be eccentrically contracting my muscles for 2 seconds, isometrically holding for 1-2 seconds, and concentrically contracting my muscles for 10 seconds. I performed each rep to failure (i.e. until my arms or legs gave out)--hence the ABSOLUTE need for a trainer.

I left the studio with every muscle shaking. I waited a couple minutes in my car before I decided to drive. My body was completely exhausted, and I loved it! Even this morning as I'm typing this, I feel every body part I worked-Chest, Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes, Abs. I am aware of each muscle. Between running, plyometric bootcamp, and strength training, yesterday was a beautiful piece of work!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Trot 5K

It's been a while since posting a blog, so I figured it was high time for a new post. My commitment to my readers (if I have even have any readers), I promise to be more dedicated to my blogging. Even if I don't have any race reports, I will be posting new fitness tips, or training updates.

I am so thankful to have wonderful family in town for Thanksgiving week. Jeremy and I have his brother Jason, and his wife Lindsay in town from Tuesday-Sunday. The four of us are very close, so we LOVE having them here! In preparing for Thanksgiving, I originally wanted to do the Drumstick Dash 10k; however, my sister in-law hadn't been running much. So we decided on the Turkey Trot 5k. (We found out a couple weeks later that Lindsay is pregnant!) YAY! Absolutely a legitimate reason to bow out of the race. Well, the day before the race, Jason, Lindsay, and Jeremy went to register for the race....Lindsay decided not to run the race, given she hasn't been running very much. Jason decided not to run because it was supposed to be so cold, and Pennsylvania has been much warmer-his lungs weren't acclimated to the cold windchills. And Jeremy simply decided not to run. I was slightly bummed that it ended up not being a family affair. But don't fret, I got to run the 5k with two of my XC guys, Austin and DC!!!

I was definitely the weakest link of the three of us; however, we did run the race together as a fun run! Thank you DC and Austin for running my pace :) It's good for me to be the slow one! We made it an adventure! We ran from my apartment building to the start of the race, ran the 5k race, and then ran home (with our goodie bags, water bottles, and muscle milks in our hands, totaling a good 6 mile run! It was the coldest Thanksgiving Day in 25 yrs! The windchill was -6 degrees!!! It was a bitter chill. I wore 4 top layers, 2 pant layers, 2 pairs of gloves, a hat, and a face mask! I was bundled for sure!!! Movement in general required more effort than usual! There were icy patches along most of the course.

Here's a cute picture of us, post-6 mile run :) We all look like chubby kids with our layers

"Some people follow their dreams, others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission." *Neil Kendall

I will say, it's days like this that build solid character and lasting memories with great people :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

New November

"The beauty of running is its simplicity; the beauty of runners is that we all have a similar drive to improve. We are either trying to run a personal best, or toeing the line for the first time, which will snowball into a future of trying to run personal bests. We road racers are a tight community of mileage-happy, limit-pushing athletes."

~Deena Kastor (American record holder for the marathon, half-marathon, and numerous other road distances).

It truly is a beautiful thing to be "in-between" marathon training schedules. And although I'm not following a training plan right now, I am enjoying the mileage that I am able to determine. Last week I hammered a heavier mileage week, logging 8 miles on Monday, 6 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles on Wednesday, 10 miles on Thursday, and 5 miles on Friday. I would have loved the opportunity to run this weekend, as it was gorgeous out!

I had an even better opportunity to coach the Rams at the NCAA Division III, UMAC Conference Championship race in Ashland, WI. Our teams did well. It was chilly and windy along the shore, with a somewhat soggy course, but they bucked up, and gave it their best effort. Not super fast times, but many of the Rams ran the course faster than they had run it three weeks prior. I know that they are in shape. They are strong, and their mileage is going down, which means their bodies are finally recovering from the heavy load of work they've done over the months prior. We came in 3rd place (both men and women). I am so proud of my Pink Hotties (aka Lady Rams), who gave it their all. That was their last 6k course. From here on out they have the Fall Finale Race at St. John's University, which is a 5k course-practically a road race. Super fast, and super fun. From there, they'll head to Cedarville, OH to tackle the NCCAA National Championship. The ladies will be hoping to score their sixth national banner, and the men their fourth national banner!

This week is going to mean long hours (7:00AM-5:00PM) Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so I can get off early for intervals on Tuesday, and leave early for the race on Friday! In order to accomodate my 8 mile run this morning, I had to get up at 4:00AM. It wasn't pretty at 4:00AM, I didn't enjoy the beauty of the sunrise, because it wasn't up when I finished my run. But I did enjoy the stillness that the morning brings. I did enjoy the wonder of a new day, and a new month to be filled with adventures waiting to be had. Layered with two longsleeve shirts, a hat and gloves, I ran from Mensing, around Elliot Park, to Olie Park, over the Stonearch Bridge, across the 10th Street Bridge, through Seven Corners, past the Metrodome, and back to my building, for a solid 8 miles. My body and my feet are happy. My mind is satisfied from an hour of solid reflection.

My heart is pleased, that today, I had another opportunity to run.